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WGTC, TCSS celebrate new partnership

West Georgia Technical College and Troup County Schools did something recently that they’ve never done before – they opened a door.

The door – 16 feet wide by 20 feet high – separates West Georgia Tech’s Precision Manufacturing Lab and the Engineering Lab at the ThINC Academy, Troup County’s College and Career Academy located on the WGTC LaGrange campus.

With its absence, students from ThINC Academy and West Georgia Tech will be able to move between labs to access instructional equipment and trainers for their classes.

“The door you see behind me has never been open for instruction,” said, Julie Post, WGTC President.

“But today we are changing that. We know that a partnership without pathways does not get us where we want to go, but a partnership with pathways leads to success for our students.”

Post, Troup County School System Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate and ThINC Academy CEO Gerald Wyatt had a brief ceremony earlier this week to raise the door as the symbolism of a renewed collaboration among educators in Troup County, per a press release from Ben Chambers, director of Public Relations and Information for WGTC.

“Today’s event is a very good symbol of the renewed relationship between West Georgia Tech and the Troup County School System,” Shumate said.  “West Georgia Tech offers outstanding dual enrollment and technical opportunities that our high school students need to take advantage of. I certainly appreciate Dr. Post’s leadership and willingness to partner and collaborate with us. This is just the beginning of expanded opportunities for young people in Troup County.”

Post said the immediate results are that high school students at ThINC Academy now have access to an array of machines and trainers in the WGTC lab, and WGTC students can now access the equipment in the thINC lab.

While the labs are similar, she said, much of the equipment is different, and this new access will expand hands-on training opportunities for all students.Post said the impact was broader, however.

“This may seem like a silly thing to celebrate—raising a door,” she said, “but this is more about our renewed commitment to not just talk about partnership, but to find real, substantive pathways for students that cross barriers and lead to better outcomes. Both sides are committed to finding solutions that work for students.”

Post pointed to another initiative, getting Troup County Career Center students into alternative pathways to graduation, as further proof.

“The TC3 will be expanding its service model beyond just credit recovery to alternative pathways for high school students to get to graduation using Georgia’s Option B,” she said.

“This allows students who earn a college credential to graduate from high school and college at the same time with job-ready skills.”

Others on-hand for the ceremony included Georgia state representative Randy Nix, Technical College System of Georgia board member Chunk Newman, Troup County School Board Chair Cathy Hunt and Georgia state board of education member Helen Rice.

“Today symbolizes and demonstrates the fact that we are a community of professionals working collaboratively in order to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world,” Wyatt said.

West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson and Troup counties and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers more than 140 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is one of the largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges.