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OTC getting massive robotics training center
37,000-square-foot facility expected to open in 2025
OTC robotics training center
An illustration of the Georgia Industrial Systems and Industrial Robotics Training Center to be built near the Ogeechee Technical College campus on Highway 301 South is shown. The center is expected to open in 2025. (Image courtesy OGEECHEE TECHNICAL COLLEGE)

Ogeechee Technical College announced Monday that Gov. Brian Kemp has approved funding to construct the Georgia Industrial Systems and Industrial Robotics Training Center that will provide training to employees of manufacturers within the region as well as companies that use automation in their supply and warehousing facilities.

To be located near the main campus of the college at the corner of A.J. Riggs Road and Highway 301 South, the 37,000-square-foot training center will be a division of Ogeechee Technical College, according to a release from OTC.

“This facility will give us the capacity to transform the regional workforce, support the growing needs of industrial automation in this region, drive manufacturing growth to our area and elevate the training capabilities of our state,” said Lori Durden, president of Ogeechee Technical College. “Technology and automation in the workplace are evolving at a rapid pace. This facility will allow us to keep up with that – which will be of tremendous benefit to both our workforce and our industry partners.”

Projected to open in March 2025, the two-story training center will house labs for industrial systems, industrial robotics, as well as PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) training.  The center is expected to provide training to employees of manufacturers within the region as well as companies that use automation in their supply and warehousing facilities.

According to the release, the training center came about as a result of a partnership between Ogeechee Tech, Bulloch County and the Development Authority of Bulloch County – supported by the region’s local legislative delegation and development authorities within the region. 

The Bulloch County Board of County Commissioners provided funding for the initial facility design and economic impact study, and the Development Authority of Bulloch County deeded the land for the Center to the Technical College System of Georgia. 

“I have a tremendous passion for education and skills acquisition, and that is why I am so thrilled that we were able to secure funding for the (training center),” said State Senator Billy Hickman. “This state-of-the art training facility will ensure that our citizens and regional industry have access to the best possible training in industrial automation that can be delivered. 

“It will be a unique facility to the state of Georgia, and will serve as an example of the transformational training that will be required to meet the needs of companies locating to this region. We are very blessed to have this, and I have no doubt that it will prove to be a game changer for our region.”

Expanded training

The center will offer a continuation and expansion of the training that Ogeechee Tech currently conducts. In fiscal year 2022, Ogeechee Tech logged more than 102,000 hours in industrial systems and industrial robotics training. At its current rate of growth, the industrial systems training program is projected to meet its training capacity in OTC’s Industrial Technology Building in 2024. 

According to the release, the Georgia Industrial Systems and Industrial Robotics Training Center will more than triple the current training capacity of Ogeechee Tech to 460,000 hours annually.  

“The (training center) will be a powerful and unique tool for workforce development to support our existing and prospective industrial partners,” said Benjy Thompson, CEO of the Development Authority of Bulloch County. “This facility will also certainly become a regional asset and a transferable training model for jobs of the future.  It is a very important piece of the puzzle as this region continues to evolve as a major manufacturing hub within the state and the southeastern United States.”

As a training facility with a regional impact, the center has created a partnership between Ogeechee Tech and Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia. 

Funding the project

Funding for the project resulted from the collective efforts of the region’s state legislative delegation in their support of Governor Kemp’s history making manufacturing initiatives in southeast Georgia. 

Timeline for construction of the center has been projected with the architectural design phase slated to begin in July, and construction following in March 2024. The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission will monitor the progress of the project and provide the accounting services associated with it.

 “I want to thank TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier for his strong support of the (training center), as well as Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch, the Bulloch County Board of County Commissioners, the Board of the Development Authority of Bulloch County and its CEO Benjy Thompson for seeing the value to our community that the (training center) will bring, and for taking a leap of faith in their firm support of this project,” Durden said. “I would also like to thank Senator Billy Hickman for taking the lead with our legislative delegation, Representative Lehman Franklin, as well as Speaker of the House Jon Burns and Senator Blake Tillery for their support. 

“Additionally, I would like to thank President Larry Calhoun of Southeastern Tech – who has been so supportive and forward thinking as to what the future of workforce development could be. This facility would not be a reality without each of those I have mentioned. We are blessed to have this leadership in our community, our region, and our state.”

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