More than 150 leaders from business and industry, education, and non-profit organizations, as well as elected and appointed officials, attended Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s State of the College address on February 20, 2018. Dr. Jabari Simama, president of Georgia Piedmont, delivered his annual address during a packed breakfast meeting at the college’s DeKalb Conference Center.

“I am proud of all our accomplishments from the past year, and I am pleased to announce the state of our college is good,” said Dr. Simama. “Regarding our vision for the future, we acknowledge that advances in modern technology are affecting all aspects of the programs we offer, so we plan to keep up with these demands by investing in strategic areas. I am certain our future is bright,” he concluded.

The theme of this year’s event was “The Georgia Piedmont Advantage: Ramping Up Workforce Capacity.” In keeping with that theme, Dr. Simama focused on adult and technical education; high school dual enrollment initiatives and apprenticeship programs; and business and industry training. According to Dr. Simama, each of these areas provides an “on-ramp” for Georgia Piedmont students as they pursue rewarding careers or additional educational opportunities. Businesses, industry and the community are the “off-ramps” that benefit from being able to recruit qualified, reliable graduates from the college, he said. “In this robust economy, Georgia Piedmont is serving as a rich source of workers for those organizations that are grappling with the impact of historically low unemployment on their ability to attract and retain talent,” Dr. Simama stated.

Throughout his remarks, Dr. Simama recognized many faculty, staff, and students, in addition to the institution’s private and public partners, for their ongoing commitment to Georgia Piedmont. He also provided updates regarding cutting-edge programs for which the college is known, including film and television production; licensed practical nursing; clinical lab technology; and building automation systems.

Additionally, Dr. Simama emphasized transfer agreements that afford Georgia Piedmont students an extraordinary opportunity to transfer seamlessly to four-year colleges or universities. He highlighted a groundbreaking partnership that has been forged between Georgia Piedmont and Clark Atlanta University known as Access4Achievement. “Under this agreement, students can go from earning a GED to earning a Ph.D.,” Dr. Simama stated. “This historic agreement is further evidence of how we are making a positive contribution in our four-county footprint and beyond,” Dr. Simama concluded.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College has formed alliances with high schools in its service area to offer dual enrollment classes that enable students to obtain both high school and college credit. “We’re fortunate that our students are able to participate in many forms of dual enrollment opportunities, whether the opportunities are cohort classes offered at students’ high schools, or classes offered through the college and career academies,” Dr. Simama stated. “Our dual enrollment numbers are skyrocketing, with more than 1,000 high school students taking advantage of programs offered through Georgia Piedmont,” he added.

At the conclusion of his presentation, Dr. Simama acknowledged the Onward Academy initiative, which is a dual enrollment partnership between the college and the DeKalb County School System. “Thanks to the exciting Onward Academy initiative, students from four high schools in the DeKalb County area are able to earn associate degrees from Georgia Piedmont while still enrolled in high school,” stated Dr. Simama.