Albany Tech focuses on relevance

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Anthony Parker, president of Albany Technical College, said the past fiscal year has proven that Albany Tech has a relevant place within the Southwest Georgia community.

"We've grown faster than many of the larger technical schools in the area," Parker said Tuesday while delivering the school's State of the College address. "We've gotten to the point where we are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. We graduated the second highest number of students from the Technical (College) System (of Georgia)."

Parker said Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville had the highest number of technical school graduates within the 28-school system.

During his address, Albany Tech's president told the Kirkland Conference Center audience about the school's ability to surpass numerous fiscal year goals. Parker said the school's goal of achieving a 70 percent retention rate was realized last year as well as boasting a 98 percent job placement rate for Albany Tech graduates.

The school's goal was to place at least 95 percent of their graduates with employment, but surpassed the goal by 3 percent. According to information from Albany Technical College, the Technical College System of Georgia's (TCSG) job placement goal for the past fiscal year was 88.4 percent with the majority of technical schools in the system performing at 85.3 percent.

"I thought 95 percent was an ambitious goal (of placing graduates with jobs) especially during a recession," remarked Parker, who's in his 15th year at the school. "However, we managed to surpass that goal by achieving a 98 percent job placement rate and our offices are still working with the additional 2 percent (of graduates) on finding them employment."

The president added that 77 percent of Albany Tech graduates work an average of 30 miles away from downtown Albany.

"That means that the majority of our graduates are staying close to home and using our grocery stores and restaurants," Parker said. "They are putting money back into the community."

According to data, 64.5 percent of Albany Technical College students graduated from the school in the past fiscal year, surpassing the TCSG average of 54.1 percent.

While the school has enjoyed record enrollment numbers, which for summer 2010 includes 3,727 students, Parker said Tuesday that the school needs to improve on Albany Tech's high school enrollment numbers.

This past fiscal year, the college set a goal of enrolling 50 high school students, but fell short of their goal by enrolling only 32 students.

"It's one of the areas where we need to do some work," Parker admitted.

Another area Parker said the school needed to grow stronger in was the concentration on adult education.

According to data, 322 students received their GEDs from Albany Tech this past fiscal year. The school's goal was to have 600 students pass their GED exam.

"Everyone who is enrolled in adult education is not always ready to sit for the GED," Parker said.

However, the school's stats show that 35.3 percent of adult education students who received their GED last fiscal year advanced into higher education courses.

The TCSG average of GED transition was 29.1 percent.

Parker said he credits the staff of Albany Technical College with the impressive numbers the school experienced this past fiscal year.

"We need to work to continue to be more relevant next year than we were this year and I do believe we can succeed," he said.

Next July, the school will be converting from quarters to semesters as required by TCSG as well as opening the school's Logistics Education Center in March.

Next year will also mark the 50th anniversary of Albany Technical College.