"A year ago three technical colleges merged into one, making Chattahoochee Technical College the largest in the state," Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson told the audience. "And this is the largest graduating class in the history of any technical college in Georgia."
Jackson, who was the keynote speaker at the event, shook hands with each of the graduates from the areas of Health, Business and Computer Information Systems, Industrial and Natural Resources and Personal and Public Services. In addition, he spoke to the graduates about the changing world and encouraged them to become lifelong learners whether through continued formal education or reading and learning on their own.
"This is not just a wonderful day of celebration," Jackson said. "It is the first step in a journey of continuing to learn."
Whatever students choose to do beyond graduation, they have already been well prepared, CTC President Sanford Chandler said in his opening remarks. He asked the graduates to remember one thing -- dreams.
"You have the skills, the passion and now the opportunity," Chandler said. "You're ready."
Army reservists celebrate graduation
from CTC program
They may not have worn the traditional caps and gowns, but a class of U.S. Army Reservists who walked across the stage wearing fatigues last month was no less proud of their accomplishment. After 15 weeks of classes and the completion of a 14-course program, these students are now ready to serve their country in the field of computer networking technologies.
"The program is a first at Chattahoochee Technical College and a first in the nation," Chandler said. "No other educational institution has been authorized by the U.S. Army Reserves to conduct training like this. So it is a special honor to see this first group finish their studies and celebrate this accomplishment."
The students of Class 001 are Army Reservists who hail from various parts of the country and serve in the 353rd Theater Signal Command. Their roles specialize in communications within the U.S. Army Reserve, a field that will utilize their newly gained computer skills and certifications.
"There were specific requirements regarding the courses and program," said Glenn Rasco, Vice President for Community and Economic Development for the college. "We are pleased to say that we met that challenge. This was an opportunity for us to demonstrate how we are able to design and provide programs that are flexible and able to meet the needs of all students. It is our hope that this relationship with the U.S. Army Reserve continues."
In her commencement address to the students, Col. Kaffia Jones, chief of staff of the 335th Signal Command, told the graduates they were a "history-making group."
Originally, the U.S. Army Reserve had selected more than 30 potential students for the program. Twenty students began the program in February; 19 graduated, earning about 80 college credit hours -- a feat that takes most students two years. Each graduate is now certified in CIS CompTIA A+, CISCO and Microsoft Networking. Averages for the students ranged from 88 percent to 99 percent.
"This has opened up new horizons to these soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Christopher McGuire, coordinator of Class 001. "This has shown them they have limitless potential."
For more information about contracting training programs, contact the Office of Community and Economic Development at 770-528-4550.