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Academy group meets on grant

Russ Moore, CEO of Seamless Education Inc. discusses the subcommittee on Career College Academy the language and requirements of a grant application Monday with a career academy subcommittee.

Russ Moore, CEO of Seamless Education Inc. discusses the subcommittee on Career College Academy the language and requirements of a grant application Monday with a career academy subcommittee.

ALBANY -- Thirteen citizens and educators, a subcommittee of a much larger group, met at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Monday to discuss the proposed Dougherty County College and Career Academy.

The larger group held its first meeting on June 29.

If an application for a special grant is successful and the program is funded, Dougherty County students from high school through the lower grades will be better prepared, either to enter college or to become valuable members of the workplace, according to Velvet Riggins, a Dougherty County School System board member who has researched similar programs.

The initial grant, discussed at the meeting, is part of the Georgia Innovation Fund, which makes available $19.4 million for 26 Georgia school systems and includes STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

Consulting with the committee members was Russ Moore, CEO of Seamless Education Associates Inc. of Newnan. Moore, who has worked with 21 career academies, said he believes that "within a decade" every high school student in Georgia will be served by one of the academies.

He said that one of the program goals would be to make the learning process enjoyable and businesslike in order to keep students from dropping out. He believes that a career academy would greatly increase the number of students who are workplace producers or who qualify for college.

During the meeting, Moore went through the several sections of the grant application with the committee members to clarify language and meaning. Before the next subcommittee meeting on Monday, the members will complete those sections for review by other members and by Moore.

Eventually the language and narrative content will be refined for submission. The committee has given itself until the end of September to complete the application process. Moore claims a 90 percent success rate for submitting similar grant proposals.

"We missed the first round," Riggins said, speaking of the RFP, or request for proposal, from the governor's office, "so we're going for the next one."

According to Riggins, the actual timeline for the next round of funding hasn't yet been established, but the self-imposed deadline of Sept. 31 will be adequate.

"Our goal is to provide work-ready students who will make a positive impact on our community's economic development," she said. "We invite any community member or agency to join with us -- especially the top 10 area industries in Albany -- to come around the table with us and help us formulate the college and career academy."

The next full committee meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. next Tuesday at the school board building. For information, call Riggins at (229) 296-9267.