President Ron Newcomb said one of his major goals for the year is securing money through legislation for the renovation of the Woodstock location at 8371 Main St.
School officials have requested assistance with renovation costs from Gov. Nathan Deal, who has forwarded the information to the legislature, Newcomb said.
“There are over 700 students taking courses at the old Woodstock Elementary School,” he said.
Another of Newcomb’s major focuses will be closing the skills gap in many industries looking to hire.
“Businesses and industries are constantly telling us they are trying to find trained and skilled workers,” he said. “It’s perplexing when the unemployment rate is so high.”
Newcomb said many without jobs don’t have the right skill set for these positions.
“Our goal is to focus increasingly on this skills gap and how we can help close it,” he said. “The big part we take in this is to help the public understand that there are jobs available in these areas if you come sign up for this training.”
Another of Newcomb’s goals is to work with Cherokee County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo to get high school students interested in technical training.
“So far, it’s been more of a preliminary discussion,” Newcomb said, adding that he has talked with the superintendent about ways the two school systems can better work together.
Newcomb said K-12 systems have been challenged by Georgia standards that demand specific core requirements for high school students.
“State standards don’t make it as easy as we would like for students interested in technical training,” he said.
All of these goals align with the college’s mission of workforce development, Newcomb said, which was further encouraged by several of Chattahoochee Tech’s successes in 2011.
One of the major accomplishments was the college’s conversion from quarters to semesters during the summer. Newcomb said the previous use of quarters posed translation challenges for many students.
“Now, we are closely on track with semester schedules of other regions, colleges and the K-12 system,” he said, adding that the transition had not changed enrollment numbers significantly.
Another achievement for the college was continuing the transition from the 2009 merger, which joined Chattahoochee with two other technical colleges.
“This year, I felt like we turned the corner completely on the merger,” Newcomb said. “With it behind us now, we’re starting to expand program offerings, going about the business of doing needed renovations and getting updated equipment,” he said.
Newcomb continues to have his sights set on a positive year, as the school’s budget woes are somewhat stabilizing.
“All indicators are that we’ll have a great 2012 and I’m very excited about it,” he said.