By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Ogeechee Tech success gaining statewide notice
Grice-H-DeWayne Web
DeWayne Grice

Business Ticker

• Glennville Bank (GB Bank Group) has begun renovation and construction of the "Statesboro Bank" located at 207 Savannah Avenue. When completed, "Statesboro Bank" will be GB Bank Groups fifth location and first entry into the Statesboro market.

 

 

        When Dr. Dawn Cartee took over Ogeechee Technical College nearly eight years ago as the institution's fourth president, she created a pretty impressive "to-do" list. At the top of the list was one large goal - accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
        This accreditation was achieved last year and is the same one that the University System of Georgia recognizes and uses. With accreditation OTC can now collaborate with Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University and others for articulations of programs like the 2 + 2 programs that allow the transfer of individual class credits from Ogeechee Tech to Georgia Southern and Valdosta.
        "SACS Accreditation is very important not only for our students but for the future growth of OTC, Cartee said. "There are a lot of people who worked tirelessly over the past seven years to see this through. I have been fortunate to surround myself with an incredible team of leaders who all share the vision of making OTC the best college in Georgia. I have them to thank for making this happen."
        Cartee seems to have a knack for building great teams and coalitions across ordinarily competitive platforms, which has been a critical part of the success of OTC and the community as a whole.
        No one can argue with success and it is everywhere across this campus and the communities they serve. With a student population topping 3,200 and an annual economic impact of nearly $30 million, plus a 98 percent job placement for their graduates, leaders around the state are taking notice.
        During the economic downturn that wrecked our state budget and our economy as a whole, we saw funding for technical colleges slashed and 45,000 students statewide were forced to leave the system when the Hope Grant GPA's were raised as a cost cutting measure. Many of these students never returned. Even through this crisis, OTC enrollment held steady and now continues to grow at a remarkable rate.
       "One of our secrets to success are our advisory boards made up of leaders in the respective industries that we are offering programs," Cartee said. "We listen to these leaders about what their specific needs are, where the industry trends are taking them and how our graduates are measuring up to those needs. From this and lots of daily interaction with the businesses and industries we are preparing the workforce for, we have been able to add critical programs and adapt existing programs to meet specific needs for our region."
        A great example of these partnerships resulted in a $750,000 initiative funded by a Federal E.D.A. grant and matching funds from regional industries to purchase industrial maintenance training equipment. Through relationships with local industries, the EDA discovered that industries are finding it increasingly difficult to hire qualified individuals to maintain the intricate equipment used in various manufacturing processes. This partnership allowed them to purchase the equipment and place it on the Ogeechee Tech campus to help train employees who keep the machinery in local factories up and running.
        OTC has become a partner with Georgia Southern in the creation of the new Manufacturing Engineering program thanks to the accreditation which allows them to create a seamless transfer. One of the selling points by Dr. Brooks Keel, president of GSU, to the Board of Regents was the creation of an engineering program that could provide hands on experience through their partnership with Ogeechee Tech. This gives their students a tremendous edge over similar programs in other institutions.
The OTC team also has worked very closely with Dr. Charles Wilson and the Board of Education in creating dynamic pathways for high school students. With this partnership, they have created a Mechatronics program, which will be based at Statesboro High.
The partnership will allow dual enrollment with OTC on the Statesboro campus. Students interested in participating in dual enrollment at Southeast Bulloch High and Portal will be bused to Statesboro to participate. Through this unique collaboration, they have seen dual enrollment grow from 50 to more than 350. Best yet, students who dual enroll can save around $10,000 in college expenses and none of the dual enrolled hours count against their Hope Grant or Scholarships.
        "Our relationships with Dr. Charles Wilson and the BOE and Dr. Brooks Keel at GSU have allowed us to pull down some barriers and really focus on creating some wonderful opportunities for our students no matter where they enter the system," Cartee said. "This, combined with the best legislative delegation any community could ask for, continues to be a key to providing incredible opportunities for the communities we serve."
        Last year Dr. Cartee and Dr. Bob Boehmer, president of East Georgia State College, inked an agreement to share bus transportation for their students. This was the first agreement to share transportation services between a Technical College System of Georgia Institution and a University System of Georgia Institution.
        The official service area is Bulloch, Evans and Screven counties. OTC operates satellite campuses in Evans and Screven, but the main campus in Statesboro is where most students attend. Approximately 50 percent of Ogeechee Tech's students come from Bulloch. Because of unique programs and opportunities, more than 30 percent of the students come from outside the service area.
        When State Sen. Joe Kennedy, and the local legislative delegation received approval to begin Ogeechee Tech in 1986, none of us imagined what a critical role OTC would provide in the success of our community. I would challenge you to find a local business in our community, no matter what sector of the community they are serving that does not employ a graduate of OTC.
        "A great staff, wonderful facilities and, incredible programs are an important part of our success," Cartee said. "But the community support, involvement and relationships are what truly gives us a phenomenal edge. The communities we serve continue to impress us with their dedication to OTC and willingness to give in so many ways to help us and our students be successful.
        "Regional businesses and community leaders consistently give over $300,000 annually to our foundation. These funds have proven to be the extra edge in making our experience a world class one for our students. I want to thank everyone who makes OTC a priority in their annual giving budgets for your continued, unwavering support. With your support, we will continue to see great things at OTC."
        Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

Business Ticker

• Glennville Bank (GB Bank Group) has begun renovation and construction of the "Statesboro Bank" located at 207 Savannah Avenue. When completed, "Statesboro Bank" will be GB Bank Groups fifth location and first entry into the Statesboro market.