August 22, 2014- Albany, GA- Officials from Albany Technical College and Central Georgia Technical College will hold a teleconference in Atlanta, Albany, and Macon with U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, on Friday, August 22, 2014, beginning at 2pm at Central Georgia Tech and 3pm at Albany Tech. The location of the teleconference at Albany Tech will be in the Manufacturing Technology Building at 1705 S. Slappey Blvd., Room 125.

Albany Tech President Dr. Anthony O. Parker, Central Georgia Tech President Dr. Ivan Allen, Congressman Sanford Bishop, and other officials will present to Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, in Atlanta, on the impact of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCT) Grant has had on their colleges.

In September of 2012, Albany Tech, as a member consortium, was awarded the three-year TAACCT Grant, along with Athens Technical College and Atlanta Technical College, which was named the ATCx3 Consortium. The purpose of the grant was to meet the educational or career training needs of workers who have lost their jobs or who are threatened with job loss as a result of foreign trade. The ATCx3 Consortium has been working together to increase access to and completion of associate degree programs in engineering technology. The project incorporates stacked and latticed credentials, transforms instructional delivery, and provides students with "wrap around" support services designed to increase retention and completion of associate degrees that lead to employment in the engineering field.

At Albany Tech, the focus programs include Civil Engineering Technology, Drafting Technology, Electromechanical Engineering Technology, and Industrial Systems Technology. Through these programs, a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) component has been developed and implemented in an effort to shorten the time to completion for students who meet eligibility criteria such as military occupational specialties, industry certificates, and corporate training. Since the grant's inception, a total of 163 students have been served with 35 graduating with a mean GPA of 3.0. These graduates have been placed in jobs at Southwest Georgia industries including MARS Chocolate North America, City of Albany, Marine Corp Logistics Base (MCLB), MillerCoors, Coates & Clark, SRJ Architects, Inc., Technical Associates, Dougherty County School System, and Fabrication Solutions. Job types include city engineer, workflow design, machinery repair, drafting instructor, and mechanical drafter.

Additional support services are also provided through the grant. With two academic coaches that connect with STEM students and encourage them through completion of the program and to job placement, there are also additional opportunities for students who want to further their education to move on from Albany Tech and earn a bachelor's degree with Southern Polytechnic State University or Middle Tennessee State University through articulation agreements.

Currently, the grant primarily focuses on the engineering portion of STEM occupations, however, to better serve the community and local employers, Albany Tech is interested in expanding the scope to include additional sciences and technology occupations, including healthcare fields. With large medical facilities in the region such as Phoebe Putney Health Systems, expansion would be a win-win for students and the community. In addition to Albany Tech's local population, the VA Medical Clinic and Naval Clinic on the Marine Corps Logistics Base has an active duty and veteran population, including wounded warriors, who could take advantage of the PLA program and provide experienced and well-educated applicants for local employers.

"The TAACCCT Grant has afforded Albany Tech the benefit of having achievement coaches in Engineering Technology on staff, who work in conjunction with faculty to assist students in enrollment, retention, and completion," said Dr. Anthony O. Parker, President of Albany Tech.