Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker gave his FY 2013 State of the College address Monday at Kirkland Hall. Parker touted the school’s record enrollment and said that focusing on the region’s adult literacy rate is one of his goals.
ALBANY, Ga. — Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker used his State of the College speech on Monday to address two specific areas of concern he says are crucial to Southwest Georgia job seekers and potential employers.
“Structural unemployment and adult literacy are major concerns in our seven-county SDA (service delivery area),” Parker said. “Structural unemployment occurs when employers have positions to fill but the labor force lacks the skills to be hired for the positions. Then when we figure in that an average 62 percent of adults in the region are functionally literate, we have a problem.
“We are geared toward (job) openings we know will be available in the community. This is what we are all about.”
Parker noted that the college’s job just became a bit more difficult due to recent changes instituted by the state.
“In the past, we could educate students in dual enrollment or working toward a GED and they would qualify for financial aid. We can’t do that anymore, so we have to figure out what is the new ‘normal’ for enrollment,” said Parker. “Plus more of our funding will be based on a new formula with more emphasis being placed on graduation rates.”
The ATC president said the new normal will entail helping adults obtain their GEDs and getting them into school.
“Generally, if an individual gives us two years of their time, the outcome is good,” he said. “More and more, GED graduates have a tendency to go on to college. And that benefits every college in our SDA. Adult education is one of our most important programs because we are finding that we aren’t getting as many high school students as we need.”
Parker also addressed a question from the audience in regard to a 13 percent increase in tuition and more out-of-pocket costs not covered by state HOPE grants. Those increases will take place in January of next year.
According to businessweek.com, the State Technical College Board on Thursday voted to increase tuition to $85 per credit hour, up from $75. That translates into a tuition bill of $1,275 for a full 15-hour course load, up from $1,125.
The HOPE scholarship pays just $60.75 per credit hour.
“We understand this will place a burden on our students,” said Parker. “We will work with individual students to help ease them through this. We are working on a plan now.”