Future veterans training center lands AT&T partnership

jmink@macon.comJanuary 2, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- A future Warner Robins institution, which will provide training and job assistance for veterans and active military members, will partner with AT&T, officials recently announced.

The state Legislature has earmarked $10 million for the The Military and Academic Training Center, which also is known as the Gateway Center, and the project now has received another boost through a strategic education partnership with AT&T.

The company will work with the college to offer careers to veterans. AT&T has set a goal of hiring 10,000 veterans over the next five years, according to a news release from Central Georgia Technical College. The Technical College System of Georgia is partnering with the University System of Georgia to offer education, workplace training and job placement to veterans.

“It’s a demonstration of the state’s commitment to make sure our heroes come back to Georgia and can go to one place and access all the resources of the university and the technical college system,” Jeff Scruggs, executive vice president of Central Georgia Technical College, told The Telegraph.

The center will pair veterans and military members with experts, who will help them find jobs, transfer academic credits, qualify their military experience for college credits and enroll in post-secondary programs. It also will offer some training and academic classes of its own, Scruggs said.

So far, management for the center and the architectural firm have been identified, and a contractor is expected to be selected Monday. A groundbreaking is being planned for the spring, Scruggs said.

Once the center opens, AT&T will work with staff members to recruit veterans for careers in the telecommunications field. Still, veterans and active military members can use the center’s services to land jobs in many industries, not just telecommunications, according to the news release.

“By joining forces with Georgia’s Gateway Center project, we seek to demonstrate our gratitude for (veterans’) sacrifices and our confidence in their capabilities,” Sylvia Russell, president of AT&T Georgia, said in the release.

With the partnership, the colleges involved hopefully will be able to place veterans on a fast track to get those telecommunications jobs. For example, Central Georgia Tech offers an associate’s degree in electronics communication, and officials hope to help veterans quickly earn that degree and begin careers with AT&T, Scruggs said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the center,” Scruggs said. “We hope that this is the first of many corporate commitments that come onto the scene.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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