South Georgia Tech President speaks to Americus Rotary Club
South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford was the guest speaker at the Americus Rotary Club recently and shared with members a brief overview of the college which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
“South Georgia Technical College has a very proud past and an equally promising future thanks to the support that we receive from this community,” said President Watford. “Our college is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and I would like to thank the Americus Rotary Club and you as individual members for what you have done and continue to do for the college and our students. Our mission is workforce development. Business and Industry is our customer. Students are our products. When we provide business and industry with outstanding students for their workforce, we are accomplishing our mission.”
Dr. Watford shared with club members that the college started offering classes in 1948 and since that time has expanded on the six programs originally offered to include over 200 associate of applied science degrees, diplomas and short-term technical certificate of credit programs.
“We are very fortunate to have been selected as the third best community college in the nation based on cost and value,” said Dr. Watford. “South Georgia Tech has also been spotlighted as the best community college in Georgia twice in the last 12 months based on data from the IPEDS or Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System records. A number of our individual programs have also been recognized as outstanding in the nation. Our culinary arts program was just named the best associate degree program in the United States, so we are very proud of our students, instructors, and staff who have made this happen.”
Dr. Watford talked with club members about the outstanding students at South Georgia Technical College and their many accomplishments that are allowing them to be recognized nationally. SGTC is leading on all levels in academics, athletics, and in student activities. A large number of SGTC students will be competing at the national level in SkillsUSA and Phi Beta Lambda competitions this summer. “When we have students that are trained and educated right here in Americus, Georgia, that compete at the state level and take first, second, or third place and advance to the national competition and compete with the best students across the nation, we have bene validated in what we do,” explained Dr. Watford.
Dr. Watford also stressed how partnerships with leaders in business and industry strengthenes the college and the education that students receive. “We have strong partnerships with industry recognized leaders such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Metro Power, and others. We just signed a new contract with Delta for our aviation maintenance students and these individuals can make up to $100,000 per year with just three years of experience. Each of our industry partners provide great job opportunities for our graduates and for strengthening our workforce.”
South Georgia Technical College is graded on three main things – enrollment, graduation, and placement, explained Watford. “We may not be the largest technical college in the state, but right now we are the most efficient. Based on the number of students that are enrolled, we have the highest percentage of retaining and graduating our students and with placing them in positions after graduation.”
Other items that Dr. Watford touched on included the financial advantages of attending a technical college. “There are currently twelve different program areas at South Georgia Technical College that students receive extra grant funding for if they are HOPE Grant Eligible. That makes it almost tuition free to attend South Georgia Technical College.”
One of those programs is the Diesel Technology program. “South Georgia Tech cut the ribbon on the renovated Morgan Diesel and Automotive Technology Complex earlier this year and we are pleased to be able to provide our area with individuals who maintain and repair the large equipment that moves our nation on a daily basis,” said Dr. Watford.
“At South Georgia Technical College we make things happen! We are able to do this because of the support that we consistently receive from the communities that we serve. We thank you for what you mean to us and to our students.”
In closing, Dr. Watford asked questions and then awarded several door prizes to the individuals who correctly answered questions he covered during the talk. Several club members also volunteered to share success stories of individuals who have attended South Georgia Tech.