Albany Technical College Blog
As we transition from January to February each year, I ponder my responsibilities as a successful older American of African descent. January is the month that I remember the contributions made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for quality of life for all Americans. February is the month that I consider the accomplishments of all Americans of African descent. I’m extremely grateful to Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, and others. My comfortable life would not be possible without their sacrifices. I realize that I’ve accomplished far more than my parents could have dreamed. My children have many more opportunities than my parents could conceive. That brings me to Dr. King’s discussion of a Freedom Dividend. I first heard the term when I was about fourteen years old. However, I had no context to use for understanding what it meant. The term Freedom Dividend had no relevance.
Many of our SW Georgia neighbors could say that they’ve failed because they did not have the opportunity to succeed. They could also say that they did not have the opportunity to acquire the resources that lead to good employment through education, or that the mere struggle to stay alive kept them from opportunity. No matter what personal reasons people may feel are their causes of failure, empirical evidence indicates that six counties in Albany Tech’s Service Delivery Area are distressed or at risk for being distressed. Only one of the seven is prosperous. Further, there is a high correlation between the attainment of a high school education or GED and economic prosperity and affluence gained from higher education.
Our community is in the unique position of expecting thousands of vacancies for technically educated individuals. Most of these vacancies will come about through normal attrition and retirements.
The board of education and the superintendents in our service delivery area were successful in improving the quality of instruction in secondary education and increasing the percentage of high school graduates. One result of these efforts has been the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy, which has shifted the paradigm for secondary education. Instruction for students in secondary education is far more relevant than say ten years ago.