TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin Visits CPTC Waycross Campus
August 6, 2015 08:23 AM
Promotes Move On When Ready & SIWD Grant
Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), along with three TCSG executive staff members, visited Coastal Pines Technical College Wednesday, July 22, to solicit input from faculty and staff, promote new educational initiatives, and bring greetings and thanks from Governor Nathan Deal and the TCSG staff.
Following informal introductions and greetings among the TCSG guests and CPTC executive team, Commissioner Corbin (see photo on left) commended CPTC for the work done daily to change lives, families, communities, and the state of Georgia, a theme she reiterated throughout the day to all audiences.
“It’s really amazing how much the Governor and others in State leadership positions know about what goes on around Georgia,” said Commissioner Corbin. “And I can tell you that Governor Deal appreciates what you do. The technical colleges are his passion.”
The group sat around a long oval-shaped table in the newly renovated CPTC Board Room. After thanking everyone, Commissioner Corbin solicited input on how the TCSG staff can better serve technical colleges. She and the other TCSG visiting staff - Matt Arthur, deputy commissioner; Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, chief academic officer, state and national initiatives; and Julia Ayers, assistant commissioner for external affairs and facilities - applauded CPTC faculty and staff for the partnerships made through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program (high school programs). They also communicated a special interest in the College’s unique offerings, such as the railroad
technology program, forestry technology, timber harvesting, engineering technology, and electrical lineworker apprentice program, asking questions about each one, such as what partnerships with related businesses and industries have been formed.
Following the “round table” meeting, CPTC President, Dr. Glenn Deibert, and Provost Lonnie Roberts (see right photo) led guests on a tour of the campus ending in the Miller Lecture Hall, where Commissioner Corbin addressed current students attending classes on the Waycross campus. She spent a few minutes explaining the new statewide initiatives – the Move On When Ready program and the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant – and then moved forward with her favorite agenda item, student success stories.
When she asked students what they thought about Coastal Pines Technical College, Guylee Washington, who is completing an associate degree in Railroad System Management, was the first to stand up and respond. Washington, a veteran – eight years in the U.S. Army – who recently retired from the federal Bureau of Prisons, explained how his first few months at CPTC put him at ease and helped him realize he could accomplish his goal of a college education and second career.
He talked about how a CPTC math instructor provided individual instruction on using a calculator, a skill he never learned because a calculator was taboo when he attended high school. According to Washington, when he last took a math class, students were expected to write out the calculations long hand. Guylee, who is enrolled in the railroad technology program, will be the first in his family to graduate from college. He shared how much that accomplishment will mean to him and how it is something he plans to do in honor of his parents.
Numerous other students shared their stories with Commissioner Corbin, of how they made the decision to enroll at CPTC and how now they know it was the right choice for them. Several asked questions of her, such as her accomplishments as Commissioner thus far and her goals as Commissioner.
Following the student session, TCSG guests and the President’s Cabinet joined community leaders from the College’s thirteen county service area at the CPTC Economic Development Training Center. Commissioner Corbin, the guest speaker, was introduced by Dr. Deibert.
“When you get right down to it, we are about changing lives,” said the Commissioner (see photo on left). She shared a few of the students’ stories from her earlier meeting, noting the impact of adult education programs, as well.
“As a government employee for so many years, what I have seen is that the TCSG adult education program changes generations. The best story of the day – a young lady, one of our EAGLE students who was employed 12 years by the state, found herself unemployed and in need of a GED diploma. Through great determination, she earned her diploma through the CPTC adult education program and is now enrolled in a credit program at CPTC. Most interesting to me is she said, ‘My child is now dually enrolled in high school and will graduate from high school with college credit because of my decision to get a GED and further my education.’”
“Whenever you hear the stories,” continued Corbin, “you know that you – everyone in this room – through your involvement and your support of the College, you are changing families, changing communities, changing lives, and changing Georgia. So from me, Governor Deal, and everyone in leadership, thank you for every single thing you do in the community.”
Corbin asked those present to remember two things above all else, Move On When Ready and the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant. She called on everyone to promote the programs to others, especially superintendents, because “these programs will make Georgia stronger by preparing individuals for jobs sooner and preparing them for jobs readily available in Georgia now.”
“We want our children and grandchildren to have job opportunities that enable them to remain in a career and advance in that career,” said Corbin. “These programs benefit our communities.”
In her closing remarks, Commissioner Corbin said, “I expect you, as always, to hold me accountable and say, ‘Gretchen, this is what y’all are doing really well, and this is where you need to improve.’”
Dr. Deibert (see right photo) thanked Commissioner Corbin and applauded her enthusiasm, “We can see how much you love your job and love this system.”
“It has been an honor to have Commissioner Corbin, Matt Arthur, Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, and Julia Ayers visit our campus today,” said Deibert, directing his attention to the audience, a group of prominent community leaders representing Southeast Georgia and the CPTC service area. “We appreciate the opportunity to share with them our accomplishments and goals and demonstrate how our faculty, staff, and students are contributing to the local workforce.”
Dr. Deibert ended the luncheon with a quick update on CPTC facilities projects. He stated that the new Golden Isles facility is scheduled to open in mid-August with limited offerings. The new welding and computer information systems building for the Waycross Campus will soon go out for bids and we hope to open the new facility fall semester 2016.
Deibert shared with guests the success of the CPTC MOWR or dual credit program. Currently, CPTC has student participation from all of its thirteen counties. And CPTC dual credit enrollment has increased significantly, as well, from approximately 100 high school students two years ago to over 600 this past fall and spring semesters.
About the TCSG Commissioner
Commissioner Corbin began her term as the new Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia in January, following retiring TCSG Commissioner, Ron Jackson. She was previously the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, a position she had held since 2013. Prior to that she served as the deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, where she worked in a wide variety of roles.
Coastal Pines Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.