By Maggie Lee
A total 96 students this fall are going to join a new Atlanta Technical College program backed by some of the city’s biggest employers. And if the school’s statistics hold, graduates will be in great professional demand soon.
“The Center for Workforce Innovation is the newest opportunity for our students to gain real knowledge and real skills to experience real success,” said college President Victoria Seals at a Thursday morning ceremony marking the opening of the center.
The fall semester students will be the first to go through what the program offers: career coaching, work-based internships or apprenticeships and access to wraparound services. The courses of study include skilled trades, IT and coding, and aviation — with curriculum supported by industry leaders.
That’s industry leaders, such as the sponsors that have given a total $2 million to start the initiative: Delta, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, Intercontinental Exchange and SunTrust. It’s an idea that the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a group of executives who are a sort of independent advisory cabinet to mayors, has been backing.
The city of Atlanta is joining via its WorkSource agency, through which students can get assistance with child care, transportation and tuition.
“This is what Ambassador [and former mayor Andrew] Young often describes as ‘The Atlanta Way,’” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at the Thursday ceremony, “where we come together with our public entities, our private entities, our community groups, and we make it happen.”
The leader of Georgia’s technical college system said that 99 percent of ATC graduates either go on to continue education or go into a career, overwhelmingly a career of their choice.
“The programs that are going to be put in here, there’s a job waiting. There is a career waiting,” said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Matt Arthur. “They’re jobs right here in Atlanta we need to fill.”
Seals said that prospective ATC students can apply via the school’s website. She expects to have 120 students in the program by its second semester.