Central Georgia Tech president touts upcoming initiatives

bpurser@macon.comJanuary 10, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Central Georgia Technical College President Ivan Allen highlighted some initiatives on the horizon at Friday’s Robins Regional Business Forum.

Among them was the $10 million Military and Academic Training Center, also known as the Gateway Center. The Technical College System of Georgia is partnering with the University System of Georgia to offer education, workplace training and job placement to veterans and active military members. The city of Warner Robins donated property for the site.

“As we see the theaters wind down across the world, we know that veterans will be returning to Georgia -- almost three-quarters of a million veterans returning to Georgia -- and we want to be sure that they have the services and support they need to reintegrate into this economy,” Allen said, speaking to a group gathered at the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce. “That is one of our chief concerns, and we have made it our mission.”

Another project on tap is construction of the Peach County Workforce Development Center, which is expected to start by March of this year. Nearly $5 million will be spent to build the 16,000-square-foot center at South Peach Industrial Park off U.S. 341 and University Boulevard, south of Fort Valley. The Workforce Development Center would focus on job training, and Central Georgia Tech would be the main tenant.

In addition, the Central Georgia Technical College Foundation has bought the former Toys R Us building on Eisenhower Parkway in Macon, with the college expected to enter into a lease agreement for the space. The building is expected to house an advanced technology and manufacturing center.

Allen also highlighted the college’s new global initiatives program.

“We reached out to partners all over the world,” Allen said. “We have been to Colombia. We’re working with the government of Kazakhstan. We’re trying to find these new avenues for business and cultural immersion to grow our college and give students around the world the opportunity to participate in technical training.

“We believe we do it well, we believe we have something to offer and we believe it will benefit all of central Georgia,” he said.

For example, Central Georgia Tech is working with Wesleyan College to host a summer English language and cultural immersion program for international students and faculty, Allen said. The college is working with the country of Colombia.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but in Colombia to graduate with a degree it requires that students be able to speak English to do business in the international market, and we believe that’s something that’s very important to have those kinds of student exchanges to spur economic development not only at home but abroad,” Allen said.

Central Georgia Technical College in Macon and Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins merged in July 2013, creating one of the largest two-year colleges in the state. The newly merged Central Georgia Tech services 12 counties, with an enrollment of 13,073 students.

“I wanted (chamber) members to understand that post consolidation of Central Georgia Tech and Middle Georgia Tech, we’re still offering the same great service, the same affordable service to our customers and students, that we’re still committed to Robins Air Force Base and the entire central Georgia region,” Allen said about the message he wanted to drive home.

Telegraph archives were used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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