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Local industry leaders get inside look at SRTC programs offered

Wednesday afternoon industry leaders from around Decatur County met at Southern Regional Technical College to discuss issues they are currently facing and hear from SRTC President Jim Glass on the technical programs the school offers that can help their business.

Glass began the meeting by explaining that SRTC wants to be everyone’s business and industry partner.

“We are here for you,” he said. “When you need something, an employee, training, whatever it is, I want you to be able to call Southern Regional Technical College. Our goal is workforce development.”

SRTC has the same accreditations as other universities around the state and can offer the general education classes that can transfer, such as English and Math. However, they also offer specialty technical programs such as welding, commercial wiring and CNC specialist. In addition to these specialty programs, SRTC also works with businesses to develop personalized programs for their employees who need training.

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ronald O’ Meara then addressed the crowd on credited courses.

O’ Meara said their common programs include nursing, welding, Commercial driving and more, but they are currently conducting feasibility studies to see about adding additional programs that may be of use to the area. However, he encouraged all industry leaders to reach out if they know of a program that would be useful to their specific industry.

“It could be something short term or a two-year degree,” he said.

O’Meara explained SRTC has a state-standardized program, which all technical colleges use, but they can also offer an institutionally developed program.

O’Meara used welding as an example. He said the school may use the state-standardized welding program, but if industry officials claim it doesn’t really fit the need of what they are looking for, he will sit down with officials and develop a curriculum that can then be approved by the state to offer.

He said he can’t develop the curriculum to just fit the needs of one industry, but if there’s one thing every industry can agree on, he would be more than happy to make the change.

“We are open and flexible to any needs you may have,” O’Meara finished.

Vice President for Economic Development Dennis Lee then spoke, reminiscing on his time at Amoco Fabrics.

Lee said his area of expertise is in non-credit programs and continuing education programs and he works to fill needs that industries have.

Lee told the crowd they are soon beginning a plumber certification program on the Bainbridge program that already has nine students registered.

“It’s a pretty extensive program, it has 160 hours of training and at the end of that training they can take a certification test and become a certified plumber,” he said. “We think there’s a need for it.”

Lee also said the Economic Development division also offers assessment tests that they can create training based upon the results.

“If you’ve got people on board who need training or need to improve, we can help you with that,” he told the crowd.

Lee also discussed a new mobile training lab that they have currently on one of their other campuses.

“These trailers can allow training in industrial maintenance, electrical operations and we can pull it up to your facility and your employees can take training right there in your parking lot,” he finished.

Amy Carter, Special Assistant to the President finished off the round table by commending everyone who attended, because these meetings are where things happen.

Carter told everyone she has been tasked by Glass to create apprenticeships for the students.
Carter said there are two types of apprenticeships, which can include one eight-hour class a week with 32 hours of hands-on work in the community, or fast track.

The fast-track option allows young employees to quickly learn skills, when an older employee is about to retire.

“I’m still building this, so I would love to hear what you need,” Carter finished.

The industry leaders were then taken to the classroom of Owen Elkins, who is the Electrical Systems Technology teacher, Brad Braswell, who is the Welding & Joining teacher and Marvin Bannister, who is the CNC advisor before adjourning the meeting.