The Union Recorder

March 15, 2014

Access to education and career opportunities benefit Baldwin County and central Georgia

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville has a unique position with regards to higher education. Few communities this size can tout the direct availability of three college institutions as Baldwin County can. A report released this week demonstrates why that stands out.

A study by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business indicates that Central Georgia Technical College’s economic impact on its 11-county service area, which includes Baldwin, resulted in $95.5 million last year after its merger with Middle Georgia Technical College.

The same study also found that the college’s spending results in a combined 1,285 public and private sector jobs.

CGTC has the largest service delivery area of any technical college in the state, and Baldwin County is a major factor in its growth based on size of the county and also the impact of the local campus. Not bad for a satellite campus that was originally established to accommodate 450 students.

The CGTC-MGTC merger became effective July 1. Last semester, enrollment at the Milledgeville campus was steady at 541 students — 53 more than fall 2012. New programs, including pharmacy technology and clinical laboratory technology, were expected to maximize enrollment this semester at the satellite campus.

The educational offerings at CGTC are indeed wide and varied, particularly with the addition of the new health facility here in Milledgeville. They include business, health, information, trade and industrial technologies; public services; and adult education programs for basic skills development. Any of those programs can assist students in re-inventing their resumes.

Programs and educational opportunities are expanding at all three schools. Take for instance the plan in development to offer a bachelor degree program at Georgia Military College. Also, a recent agreement between CGTC and GC aims to help ease the transition from associate’s degree on the path to a four-year college degree. 

Let’s also not forget that the local campuses bring social, cultural and economic byproducts that are incalculable as well.

As the demand for customized, hands-on training continues to increase, the role and impact of technical colleges will continue to expand, bringing into focus more heavily the importance of the roles they play in the communities they serve and how they address those needs.

Continuing to look for new ways to strengthen educational partnerships to provide access to more programs for local students, as the CGTC-MGTC merger did, is a trend that fits. 

Providing access to new educational and career opportunities in a variety of forms through these three campuses not only helps in the classroom but, as this recent study demonstrates, in Baldwin County and the central Georgia region as well.