USDA Advances Information Technology Training at Coastal Pines Technical College
Coastal Pines Technical College held a short ceremony recently to celebrate a USDA grant award of $93,879 to purchase updated CISCO and Apple equipment for the Computer Information Systems program. Foundation Chair Larry Paulk and Waycross City Officials joined Coastal Pines faculty and staff in thanking USDA officials Donnie Thomas (7th from left), Ricky Sweat (2nd from left), and Shandolyn Smith (center) for their support of higher education in Southeast Georgia. The items on the table represent the type of equipment CPTC has ordered with the grant funds. Pictured are Larry Paulk (L to R), Ricky Sweat, Jason Strickland, Laree Thomas, CPTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert, Shandolyn Smith, Donnie Thomas, Eddie Murray, City Manager Raphel Maddox, Mayor Clarence Billups, and Provost Lonnie Roberts.
WAYCROSS, Ga. – Jan. 29, 2015 – USDA Rural Development and Coastal Pines Technical College today celebrated a $93,879 grant to provide new technologies for the college’s Computer Information Systems training programs. The funding is from Fiscal Year 2014’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program.
“The influx of equipment is critical for creating graduates who are workforce ready,” said Rural Development State Director Quinton Robinson. “It keeps students up to date with the continually advancing technologies of the IT sector,” he continued.
Coastal Pines Tech offers the Computer Information Systems program for present and future IT professionals who need networking infrastructure configuration, network design, wireless and network security training. The grant award will be used to purchase Wireless-N/Apple Airport Broadband Routers, Cisco Integrated Services Routers, Serial WAN Interface Cards, Switches, Apple Servers, and Apple Desktops. The college graduated 55 students in 2013 from its CIS programs with 97% job placement rate.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 73,000 rural jobs, expanded or helped establish more than 41,000 rural businesses and community projects and provided more than $170 million in economic development assistance.
Under the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) Programs are consolidated into a newly created Rural Business Development Grant Program (RBDG). The Agency is currently working on a rule to implement the new program.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
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Prior to the program, USDA Area Specialist, Shandolyn Smith shared possible grant opportunities for the City of Waycross with City Manager Raphel Maddox and City Engineer Jessica Deal.
Donnie Thomas, assistant to the state director of the USDA Rural Development program, thanked CPTC for pursuing the grant. Thomas explained how the grant supports the agency’s plan to strengthen rural America. He encouraged those present to tell others who could benefit about the grants and low interest loans available through the USDA.
Eddie Murray, one of the CPTC Computer Information Systems (CIS) instructors who worked on the grant, thanked USDA officials and told guests that CIS graduates must be skilled in encryption, network support, multivendor equipment and intrusion prevention. According to Murray, the new equipment will ensure that CIS students get hands-on experience with advanced equipment in information security and networking.
Murray spoke after CPTC President, Dr. Glenn Deibert, who urged attendees to thank area legislators and congressmen for USDA grant opportunities. Deibert also thanked USDA officials for their assistance with the grant application process and their support of the college, which has received over $690,000 in USDA grant funds prior to this most recent award.
“The equipment purchased with this grant will facilitate the online, web-based, instant, and secure communication that has become such an important feature in our lives,” said Deibert. “The rapid changes in the IT industry require a huge investment in updated equipment,” continued Deibert, “which is why we are so glad to partner with USDA to update our lab.”
CPTC offers certificate, diploma, and degree options in computer information systems, a program that prepares individuals for an exciting career in information technology. For more information about the program, visit www.coastalpines.edu or contact one of five full-time instructors: Willie Jones, Eddie Murray, Jason Strickland, Laree Thomas, or Mandy Wright (see www.coastalpines.edu/directory).