22 Questions in 2022: How is WGTC helping students get ready for the future in an ever-changing world?

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, February 27, 2022

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The concept of post-secondary education still remains a prominent next step to graduating high schoolers, but as aspects of post-high school education continue to change, students continue to make more complicated decisions about their next steps.

There are many factors that influence a student’s decision to pursue a vocational degree from trade schools or four-year, academic degrees from a college or university, such as, but not limited to tuition costs and the job market surrounding a student’s desired field. In the last two years, students have been particularly hit by hurdles in their pursuit of higher education, including the obstacle of blended person and in-person learning and travel restrictions.

West Georgia Technical College (WGTC)  has been continuously adjusting to the ebb and flow of the dynamics in today’s world, said Dr. Julie Post, president of West Georgia Technical College.

“We want to take students from wherever they are in their educational journey to wherever they want to be,” Post said. “That could be easing into college life with general education coursework or an AAS degrees and a plan to matriculate to a four-year university. Or, maybe a short-term certificate in any one of our 10+ high-tech trade programs, with stackable credentials, that allow one to enter an ever-demanding career-field at $50+K a year.”

At $100 a credit hour, a technical college who is accredited by the same body as all universities in the state, makes WGTC a less expensive option for students who want to pursue education locally. WGTC offers 20 two-year degrees in health programs, criminal justice and culinary arts.

According to IBISworld, a national marketing agency that produces industry market research reports that take into account developments on the international scene, the market size of the trade and technical schools industry in the U.S. has declined 1.5% per year on average between 2017 and 2022. The primary negative factor affecting this industry is national unemployment rate, while the primary positive factor is low competition, IBIS noted.

WGTC is moving forward with creating bigger and better partnerships to strengthen its pathways, Post said.

WGTC offers high school kids dual enrollment opportunities, articulate college credit, or venture into an Option Bravo (Option B) program. Last summer, Troup County School System and WGTC partnered to fully open WGTC’s Precision Manufacturing Lab and the Engineering Lab at the ThINC College and Career Academy, Troup County’s College and Career Academy located on the WGTC LaGrange campus, allowing students to move between labs to access instructional equipment and trainers for their classes.

“We are at the table with the economic development leaders in Troup County, the manufacturing business owners such as Weiler, Remington, Duracell, WellStar, our beloved local legislators, the Troup County School System leaders, Adient, and KIA to name just a few,” Post said. “Our doors and minds are open to develop the means to make connections and bridge gaps, in new ways, to support the economic vitality of the region.”

A few projects in the works or completed include significant technology upgrades on campus, opening doors and new program articulations with THINC Academy, TC3 + Option Bravo at WGTC, major renovations to the campus’ welding facility, and a proposal for a $26.5M capital project for a Logistics and Manufacturing Center at WGTC’s East Campus on Fort Drive.