That was Pete McDonald’s assessment of the changes at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
McDonald, vice president for economic development at the college, provided the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce committee a tour of the Rome campus Friday morning.
“Jobs are more sophisticated today,” McDonald said. He told the panel that when what was formerly known as Coosa Valley Technical College made the decision to become a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-accredited institution, its faculty was required to meet the same standards as any other SACS-accredited college.
The SACS Commission on Colleges just completed its inspection of GNTC. “We won’t have to do that again for 10 years,” McDonald said.
The college enjoyed a 98 percent placement rate for its graduates in FY 2012 and that 100 percent of its nursing graduates passed the last state-mandated exams.
“The partnerships with college and career academies is very important to us,” McDonald said. GNTC has working relationships with the Floyd, Gordon and Whitfield County school systems’ college and career schools.
Overall, GNTC has more than 6,200 full-time students enrolled across its five major campuses in Rome, Rockmart, Rock Spring, Calhoun and Dalton. The Rock Spring campus is slightly larger than Rome in terms of enrollment this fall.
McDonald pointed out to business and education leaders that GNTC provided custom training for more than 2,100 workers across the nine-county service area last year, assessed more than 6,300 workers through the ACT Work Keys programs and helped more than 800 adults receive their GED in FY 2012.
A recent crackdown on immigrants, requiring them to have ID to participate in adult education programs, had a negative impact on the English as a Second Language program, but did not significantly impact the GED program, McDonald said.
The college has had to introduce a competitive admission process for its health care programs. “Last year we had over 2,000 people trying to get into 300 slots,” he said.
Jim Powell, who also works in the GNTC economic development office, said the school is introducing a new logistics program. “We’re hoping this is going to be a strong program for us,” Powell said. “We know that distribution is going to be a key player in our current economy.”