On Friday, September 29, 2017 Dr. D. Glen Cannon, president of Gwinnett Technical College, spoke to a crowd of community stakeholders in the Busbee Center’s Cisco Auditorium, delivering his annual State of the College address.
Dr. Cannon recognized dignitaries, elected officials and civic leaders in attendance and was quick to thank the College Board of Directors, Foundation Trustees, academic advisory board members and corporate partners for their active engagement. He praised the College’s faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to student success each and every day. Dr. Cannon said, “You are the partners who are key to our success.” He said, “It takes a great community and I know our Gwinnett Tech community is the best of any college in Georgia.” Dr. Cannon also recognized the many students and alumni in the room for their dedication and persistence and stated, “You are our inspiration and the reason we strive every day to reach new heights here at Gwinnett Tech.”
Dr. Cannon reflected on the goals he set forth for the year – to reach:
- More high school students and high school graduates
- More of the one million + adults who have some college but no college degree
- More adults with a degree who seek to change careers
- More of the 60,000 adults in our community without a high school diploma
- More businesses who seek to strengthen the skills of their employees
- More individuals who want to “train up” to stay relevant in their industry.
Thanks to the addition of new programs, redesigned processes and further collaboration with the business community Gwinnett Tech has had a very successful year with record high enrollment and more than 2,000 graduates. In the past year the College has served 21,317 students across its credit, economic development and continuing education as well as its adult education programs, a 9% increase over the previous year. Dr. Cannon said, “That’s 1,729 more lives changed.”
The College’s overall job placement rate continues to exceed 99%, with graduates experiencing a 99.7% job placement rate. Dr. Cannon stressed, “We strive to offer educational programming that leads to an in-demand job and align our offerings with workforce demand.” He told how the state of Georgia has partnered with business to identify 12 high demand fields that have significant employment needs. High demand fields include Early Childhood Education, Heavy Diesel, Bioscience, Cybersecurity and Welding and Joining, just to name a few. The HOPE Career Grant program allows students seeking training in those focus areas to receive their education with free tuition to those that qualify. In 2017, Gwinnett Tech had 550 students, a 30% increase since 2016, take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Dr. Cannon spoke of Gwinnett Tech’s commitment to helping students overcome barriers to education, like financial strain. In the past year Gwinnett Tech’s Foundation assisted more than 1,500 students through scholarships, emergency assistance, and emergency loans. Between HOPE grants, scholarships, and private philanthropy, Gwinnett Tech is committed to helping students find affordable education options.
Another major growth area for the College was in the dual enrollment program, formerly known as Move on When Ready. Last fall, Gwinnett Tech had 763 high school students enrolled. This fall, that number topped 1,200, resulting in a growth of close to 60%. Dr. Cannon said, “Talk about reaching new heights! What a fabulous opportunity for students to earn college credits at no cost; saving families thousands of dollars.” Cannon stressed, “A significant part of our success with the Dual Enrollment program can be attributed to our partnerships with Fulton, Gwinnett and Buford City school systems.” Dr. Cannon also recognized AT&T for their generous support of the program.
Dr. Cannon proudly announced the launch of the College’s new Center for Internships and Entrepreneurial Excellence, now known as Launch Pointe. Launch Pointe will serve as an innovative, career- and workforce-focused resource center for student career development and training. Launch Pointe will offer internships, apprenticeships, networking and high-level career coaching. Eventually, Launch Pointe will dovetail into entrepreneurship and small business development training.
Gwinnett Tech provides additional education programs which are in place to strengthen the workforce as well as enhance lifelong learning. Through GED prep and English as a Second Language programs, the adult education division served 5,200 students and was awarded the Top GED provider in the State of Georgia. Gwinnett Tech’s economic development and continuing education team taught 4,914 local industry employees, 1,096 classes, seminars and workshops for 145,093 training hours. Last year alone, Gwinnett Tech helped businesses reduce their Georgia Tax Liability by $6.1 million through the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit Program supported by the College’s economic development team. “We have two purposes, one to serve students and two to serve business,” stated Dr. Cannon.
As part of the annual gathering, special recognitions were awarded. The Automotive Advisory Board was recognized as the 2017 Advisory Board of the Year. Jan Webster, 2008 graduate in Culinary Arts, won the Alumni of the Year Award, Mercedes-Benz USA received the 2017 Benefactor of the Year Award and Mikhail Britt, chief financial officer for Shumate Heating and Air Conditioning, was recognized as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year.
In closing, Dr. Cannon shared that there is still more work to be done. Georgia needs 250,000 additional graduates by 2025 and he was proud to share that Gwinnett Tech is on target to exceed goals established to meet its part of the 250,000 goal. Only 45% of Georgia’s young adults currently hold a certificate or degree. By 2025, 65% of jobs in Georgia will require some postsecondary education. Cannon said, “We have a heavy load on our shoulders and it takes everyone in this room to help carry it. Gwinnett Tech’s mission is to teach every individual, serve every business. Success lies in the strength of our partnerships. With everyone here, we have a winning formula to reach new heights.”
For more information, visit GwinnettTech.edu or call 770-962-7580.