0

Albany Technical College growing with the times

Pam Heglar, vice president of Student Affairs at Albany Technical College, delivers a program to the Albany Rotary Club on Thursday. The program included an overview of the progress the college has made in meeting its goals.

Pam Heglar, vice president of Student Affairs at Albany Technical College, delivers a program to the Albany Rotary Club on Thursday. The program included an overview of the progress the college has made in meeting its goals.

ALBANY, Ga. — In an address to the Albany Rotary Club Thursday, members were given an update on the direction of Albany Technical College and its progress in practical education for the community.

Pamela Heglar, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, started the program by addressing “five myths about technical college.” Among those myths, Heglar said, is the perception that career programs, such as the ones offered at Albany Tech, will accept anyone at all.

According to Heglar, most such programs require an applicant to have graduated from high school or to have completed a GED. Some require an entrance exam and ACT or SAT minimum scores, she said.

Another myth, said Heglar, is that technical schools function as “diploma mills,” at which almost anyone can succeed.

“Not true,” Heglar said. “Reputable technical colleges require real commitment of a student’s time and effort. If you’re looking at a technical college for a quick degree, you won’t make it.”

According to Heglar, a technical education offers hands-on professional experience and opportunities for internships, which is what employers look for.

Referring to Albany Tech’s recently issued State of the College address, Heglar said that the college wages war against “structural unemployment,” or joblessness coming from lack of skills.

“The jobs are out there,” Heglar said, “but many of our people just don’t have the skills to fill them. It’s our mission to bring people and training together and fill more of those jobs.”

Heglar continued her program with a breakdown of student enrollment by counties served and by increase in total enrollment. From 3,718 students during the summer semester of 2010, enrollment at the college increased each subsequent semester to a total of 4,562 for the fall of 2011, Heglar said.

According to Heglar and Albany Tech President Anthony Parker’s State of the College address, Albany Tech met or exceeded many of its goals this fiscal year, including student retention, graduation and full-time equivalents. The job placement goal of 95 percent fell a bit short at 79.1 percent, though graduations were at 64.2 percent, exceeding the goal of 60 percent.

According to college sources, accomplishments of 2010 include a Tree Campus USA tree planting, Governor’s Technical College of the Year runner-up and the Georgia Oglethorpe “Challenge” Award.