The Union Recorder

November 20, 2013

EDITORIAL: Partnerships the right plan to broaden options for locals

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — When Ga. Gov. Nathan Deal announced last winter his plan to add 250,000 new college graduates to the state’s population by 2020, Georgia schools were given their marching orders. Tuesday, Central Georgia Technical College and Georgia College solidified a partnership to move the local community closer to reaching the governor’s goal.

CGTC and GC officials are exploring ways to ease the transition between the two schools so students can transfer from school to school. The goal is to advance students through the educational process more quickly so they can join the workforce sooner and apply their newfound job skills.

So what does it mean for local residents? It means students to have greater local access to their degree of choice. Pursuing ways to streamline the transfer process means students don’t have to duplicate classes, saving them money and time as they pursue their career pathways.

By generating avenues for students to obtain credits faster, they won’t have to repeat courses when they transition from a technical college to a four-year school or vice versa. Associate degree programs from CGTC will hopefully soon more easily transfer to any four-year university around the state.

In a gathering announcing the new local partnership, Technical System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson stressed the importance of higher education in shaping the state’s economic development. There should be no doubt that Georgia’s colleges and universities are critical in workforce development, and creating synergy among two-year and four-year schools across the board is a must if the state is to grow and prosper on the jobs front.

According to the governor’s office website a recent Georgetown University study indicates a great deal of work must be done nationally and in Georgia in order to ensure the nation’s future workforce needs. Forty-two percent of the state’s population holds some form of a college degree, while the Georgetown study found that by 2020, that percentage should be 60 percent in order for the state to remain economically competitive.

This research is indicative that there’s certainly more work to be done.

The level of student retention this new partnership can potentially offer is a step closer to getting there. If local students have more local options to pursue their career paths, simply put, they’ll have more reasons to want to stay closer to home.

Creating more opportunities like the ones this new partnership will provide stands to increase the chances of students staying close by to work, raise their families, and create their own business opportunities.

The students of today are the employees of tomorrow.