Atlanta – The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia has given their unanimous approval for TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson to initiate the process to merge Altamaha Technical College (ATC) and Okefenokee Technical College (OTC).
The board voted to consolidate the administrations of the two colleges during their monthly meeting at the TCSG headquarters in Atlanta on August 1.
The merger is expected to be accomplished by July 1, 2014.
The board also approved Jackson’s recommendation of Dr. Glenn Deibert, the current president of Okefenokee Technical College, to be the president of the merged colleges, effective July 1, 2014. Deibert will lead the process over the coming year, working in close collaboration with the acting president of Altamaha Technical College, Lonnie Roberts, and the faculty and staff of both colleges to ensure a smooth transition throughout the consolidation process.
Altamaha Technical College, which has its main campus in Jesup and branch campuses in Baxley, Brunswick, Hazlehurst and Kingsland, and Okefenokee Technical College, with a main campus in Waycross and a branch in Alma, together enrolled 4,326 students in credit classes last year.
There were 33 TCSG colleges in 2009. Since then, the system has used mergers as a way to reduce some administrative costs while creating larger, more efficient colleges. Today, there are 24 TCSG colleges.
Once the ATC - OTC merger is complete, the system will have merged 19 colleges into nine, resulting in 23 technical colleges statewide.
As the previous mergers have shown, students at ATC and OTC should experience little change in the day-to-day operation of their campuses. They will, however, gain from the benefit of a regional college that is more efficient financially and makes better use of shared instructional and technical resources among its campuses.
No campuses will be closed and the colleges’ other programs, including adult education, continuing education, and customized workforce training for business and industry, will continue as before. “The foremost goal of a college merger is to ensure that our students receive the very best training on campuses that are financially stronger and make the most efficient use every available education resource,” said Jackson.
Duplication of administrative roles could lead to several executive jobs being eliminated through attrition, reassignment, or a reduction in force.
Jackson also emphasized the importance of including the colleges’ local boards of directors and the community and regional stakeholders in each step of the merger. “An essential key to the success of this merger is involving the colleges’ strongest supporters throughout the process,” said Jackson.
The boards of directors at ATC and OTC will be asked to recommend a new name for the college. They will also work together on a plan for an eventual combined board of directors.
Altamaha Technical College currently serves Appling, Camden, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties. Okefenokee Technical College serves Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Pierce and Ware counties.
History of the TCSG mergers: On July 1, 2009, Chattahoochee Technical College, North Metro Technical College and Appalachian Technical College merged and became the new Chattahoochee Technical College; West Central Technical College and West Georgia Technical College formed the new West Georgia Technical College; Coosa Valley Technical College and Northwestern Technical College became Georgia Northwestern Technical College; and Southeastern Technical College and Swainsboro Technical College merged into the new Southeastern Technical College.
On July 1, 2010, Griffin Technical College and Flint River Technical College joined as Southern Crescent Technical College; and Valdosta Technical College and East Central Technical College became Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
On July 1, 2011, Sandersville Technical College and Heart of Georgia Technical College merged and became Oconee Fall Line Technical College.
On July 1, 2013, Central Georgia Technical College and Middle Georgia Technical College merged as the new Central Georgia Technical College.
About the TCSG: The 24 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia offer affordable education and excellent training in more than 600 certificate, diploma and two-year associate degree programs. Students of all ages take advantage of outstanding instructors and hands-on learning with state-of-the-art equipment to gain the skills needed for today’s in-demand jobs.
In 2012, the TCSG colleges delivered 2.8 million credit hours of instruction to more than 170,000 students. The TCSG is online, too, serving 85,000 students through the system’s Georgia Virtual Technical Connection. TCSG students enjoy the benefits of Georgia’s HOPE grant and scholarship and the federal Pell grant, which will pay for a significant portion of a TCSG education.
In addition, the TCSG Office of Adult Education delivered a variety of programs to 78,000 adult learners in 2012 and almost 18,000 of those students earned their GED credential.
Another part of the TCSG, the internationally recognized Quick Start program, provided customized workforce training to almost 58,000 employees of new and expanding companies in Georgia in 2012.
For more information about the TCSG and links to a technical college in your area, go to www.tcsg.edu