News Release

For media information, contact:
Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


Georgia Piedmont Technical College Holds Third Annual State of the College Address

DeKalb County - March 10, 2016

Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) hosted its State of the College event for the first time at the college's Newton campus.  President Jabari Simama delivered his third annual address to students, faculty, staff and community leaders on the theme "Building Community Without Boundaries Where We All Thrive."

"As we come together for the 2016 State of the College Address, I am pleased to announce the state of our college is strong," said Dr. Simama. "Together, we have begun the journey to transform lives and to improve our communities.  We have a moral imperative to stay the course," he said.  

Eight of the college's community partners co-hosted the event:

  • Newton County Government
  • Covington-Newton Chamber of Commerce
  • Morgan County  Government
  • Madison Morgan Chamber of Commerce
  • Rockdale County Government
  • Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce
  • DeKalb County Government
  • DeKalb Chamber of Commerce   

Throughout the presentation, Dr. Simama thanked faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as private and public partners for their commitment to Georgia Piedmont.  He also provided numerous examples of innovative academic programs and community-based initiatives, such as the recent community policing conference convened by the college's nationally-credentialed Law Enforcement Academy. Other areas singled out by Dr. Simama included the college's fast-growing film and television production department and its leadership in providing technical and adult education throughout the region. 

Excerpts from the President's Address:

The theme this year is:  "Building Communities Without Boundaries—Where we all Thrive." 

This theme is important for our college for a number of reasons.  We must first remove the boundaries that limit our potential to learn, build, lead, love and inspire.  We are removing boundaries by making college more accessible. 

Georgia Piedmont has a diverse student population, where the average age is 31 years old and where over 80 nationalities are represented, who work fulltime, have families and want to obtain their credential in as little time as possible. 

To ensure all our students, thrive we:

  • Have opened a new campus in South DeKalb offering technical, adult and continuing education courses.  Current programs include technical certificate of credits in air conditioning technician assistant, financial and investment services, early childhood care and education basics as well as a diploma program in business management. And, in the Fall, we will begin a new barbering diploma program that will complement our popular cosmetology program. 
  • Will provide certificates in criminal justice fundamentals, phlebotomy and residential wiring.
  • Have expanded our offering of film, television and new media courses to include the Newton Campus.  Under continuing education, we are also offering a production assistant program that will allow for immediate entry into the entertainment workforce.  We believe if production companies are going to film here in Newton, then they need to hire people from Newton.  And the same goes for DeKalb, Rockdale and Morgan.

We are also removing boundaries by partnering with government agencies and private and non-profit leaders to meet industry and community demands. To ensure our industries and communities thrive we have:

  • Strengthened our relationships with K-12 systems in our service areas.  We are working harder to encourage high school students to enroll into the State's "Move On When Ready" program which allows students to earn free college credits while attending high school.  Currently, over 600 high school students are enrolled in college courses with our college.

We are also working to enhance the educational experience at our college and career academies.  These academies are innovation laboratories where the school district and designated technical college work together to develop local workers, local leaders, local entrepreneurs, who can reinvigorate the economy.

At Rockdale Career Academy, through "Move on When Ready", we are offering college level English, math, economics, American government and public speaking courses. We also offer technical courses in cosmetology, emergency management technician and welding.  And, we will continue to offer evening credit courses at RCA in the summer and fall terms for 2016 in English, math, accounting and computers, just to name a few.

Today, I am glad to report, that another college and career academy is forthcoming in our service area.  The Morgan County Charter School System's application was recently approved to establish the first Move On When Ready Campus.  Students will graduate from the academy will have a distinct competitive advantage having earned college credits, technical training and the career preparation required to successfully enter the workforce or obtain the baccalaureate degree in just two years.  That is how education removes boundaries and builds bridges in its place.

In our partnerships with government agencies, we are also removing boundaries with:

  • A $900,000 Workforce Investment Opportunity Act grant from Georgia Northeast Regional Planning Commission grant to provide unemployed Georgians training in Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification, forklift certification, manufacturing principles, soft skills, computer skills as well as other professional development.
  •  Beyond the skill training, we are also providing GED and technical training for out of school youth between the ages of 16 – 24 who have not completed their high school education. The grant removes barriers such as the cost of travel, childcare, and funding for these trainings. 
  • Through another Workforce Investment Opportunities Act grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission, we have trained residents in forklift operations and OSHA training, as well as in soft skills development and basic computer literacy.  I am glad to report most of the participants were able to transition to fulltime employment. 

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.