ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker took a few minutes during the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club's weekly meeting Monday to tout one of the state's most successful technical colleges.
"They told me I had 15 minutes to speak, so I thought I'd just tell you about the good stuff," Parker said to laughter. "For the second time in the past three years, we are a finalist for Technical College of the Year in Georgia. We are only an average size technical college. Our enrollment is around 4,000, but we graduate more students than any other tech school in the state.
"More than 90 percent of our graduates are placed within their field and of those, 70 percent live and work within 30 miles of downtown Albany."
Parker added that while the college had seen tremendous growth over the past several years, the school is now "boxed in" by the Department of Labor and county Health Department buildings, Southside Middle School and Monroe High School, Newton Road and Slappey Boulevard.
"This is why we want a sometimes contentious pedestrian bridge over Slappey," Parker said. "Because if we are going to continue to grow, it looks like we have to go west across Slappey. Either that or move the school, and we don't want to do that."
But the lack of room to expand doesn't mean ATC will not continue to grow. Parker told the crowd that next week he expects to sign an articulation agreement with Valdosta State University that will dramatically expand ATC's degree programs.
He said he is also excited about ATC's new associate of nursing degree, which will be offered this fall. He said the degree is a bridge to an LPN degree.
"The most exciting thing is these classes will be held in the evening and on weekends and won't interrupt the work schedules of those wishing to take advantage of the program," Parker said.
Parker added that ATC's focus will continue to be on its students and filling the employment needs of business and industry within the region.
"Every one of our students begins Albany Tech with the end in mind," Parker said. "We want to give them every advantage that we can."