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December 11, 2013

Funding announced for new academies

The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Wednesday awarded grants totaling $9.45 million to help establish three new college and career academies in Georgia. 

Grants were given for the Cairo High School College and Career Academy, Coffee County College and Career Academy and Troup County College and Career Academy. Each received $3.15 million in funding that is to be matched with local funding to support the academies’ start-up costs, construction and initial staffing. 

The TCSG board’s College and Career Academy Committee selected the grant recipients and the full board voted their approval during their monthly meeting in Atlanta.

TCSG State Board Chair Lynn Cornett expressed the board’s strong support for Georgia’s career academy initiative and the expanded possibilities that it provides for high school students.

"Career academies are a unique collaboration between the school system, area TCSG college, and business and industry, all working together to develop programs that educate and prepare Georgia students for in-demand jobs. The result is an innovative learning environment where students earn high school and college credit while being challenged to reach their potential and, ultimately, excel in great careers," said Cornett.

Students find that the academies’ dual credit programs provide greater relevancy and value which leads to higher graduation rates. Students are also better-prepared for higher education because they take college-level courses and earn college credits. Businesses realize the benefit from students who can put their education to work as part of Georgia’s highly-trained and skilled workforce.

Students at the 27 college and career academies across the state have graduation rates in the high ninetieth percentile, and most go on to attend college. The job placement rate for career academy graduates is also very high.

Georgia’s College & Career Academy Initiative has been spearheaded by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who has focused the effort on higher achievement for Georgia students and preparing them for future careers. 

Since the initiative began in 2006, the state has appropriated $83 million in start-up funding for college and career academies in the form of grants from the TCSG.

Last year, the 27 academies enrolled almost 14,000 students.

“I thank the governor and Georgia General Assembly for their strong support of Lt. Gov. Cagle’s vision for Georgia’s college and career academies and helping to open career pathways for Georgia’s high school students,” said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson.

“The Technical College System of Georgia is proud to be a partner in this model program that expands the education horizon and contributes to workforce development.”

Southwest Georgia Technical College will collaborate with the Grady County School System for the Cairo High School College and Career Academy; Wiregrass Georgia Technical College will partner with the Coffee County School System for the Coffee County College and Career Academy; and West Georgia Technical College will collaborate with the Troup County School System for the Troup County College and Career Academy.

About the TCSG: The 24 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia offer affordable education and excellent training in more than 600 certificate, diploma and two-year associate degree programs. Students of all ages take advantage of outstanding instructors and hands-on learning with state-of-the-art equipment to gain the skills needed for today’s in-demand jobs.

The TCSG colleges delivered 2.3 million credit hours of instruction to more than 151,000 students during the 2013 academic year. The TCSG is online, too, serving 80,000 students through the system’s Georgia Virtual Technical Connection. TCSG students enjoy the benefits of Georgia’s HOPE grant and scholarship and the federal Pell grant, which will pay for a significant portion of a TCSG education.

In addition, the TCSG Quick Start program, an important economic development incentive for Georgia, provided customized workforce training to almost 50,000 employees of new and expanding companies in the state.

The TCSG also works to help adult learners reach their potential. Last year, the TCSG Office of Adult Education delivered a variety of programs to 71,000 adult learners and almost 16,000 of those students earned their GED credential.

For  information about the TCSG and links to a technical college in your area, go to www.tcsg.edu.

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Georgia Department of Education District Effectiveness Specialist Bobby Smith educates Thomas County teachers about Georgia’s new accountability program, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, at a Tuesday meeting.

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