Earlier this week, an Ogeechee Technical College graduate represented Technical College System of Georgia graduates during an announcement about a campaign designed to encourage adults to go back to college and get their degrees.
Molly Bickerton was the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership, or GOAL, winner in 2008 at Ogeechee Tech as well as at the state competition, recognizing her as the top technical college student that year.
Bickerton appeared with Gov. Nathan Deal, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson for an announcement of the state’s new “Go Back. Move Ahead.” campaign Tuesday. The campaign is designed to encourage Georgians who have taken some college courses to go back and finish their degrees. More than 1 million Georgians are in that category.
“In order for Georgia to remain economically competitive, we must have an educated work force, and focusing on college completion is one way we intend to do that,” Deal said. “‘Go Back. Move Ahead.’ provides resources for prospective students and makes it easy for any Georgian who has started college to go back to school and earn a degree or certificate.”
“Go Back. Move Ahead.” is a part of Deal’s “Complete College Georgia” initiative, which launched in 2011. It is projected that by 2020, more than 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require a college certificate or degree. Presently, however, only 42 percent of the state’s young adults have earned a college credential — creating a need for an additional 250,000 graduates.
The University and Technical College systems serve more than 300,000 students each year and are a major component of Georgia’s economy. Deal and higher education administrators recognize that the state must do more to make it easier for Georgia adults to return to school and complete their degrees. This group includes approximately 1.1 million working-age adults, or 22 percent of the state’s population, who attended college for some time but did not finish.
The initiative will offer Georgians a simpler enrollment process, more flexible ways to transfer earned college credits, additional course schedule options and a personal academic advisor. Options for returning to college in Georgia include enrolling on campus, taking classes at a satellite location or using the online options available at many of Georgia’s public institutions.
The USG and TCSG are collaborating on the effort, which will include unprecedented public outreach to every part of Georgia. A significant media buy will purchase billboards, radio, video, print and online digital media. There also will be grassroots community outreach and operational improvements at key campuses to make it easier for Georgia adults to return to college and earn their degrees. Interested students can be connected to a college representative online at www.gobackmoveahead.org or by calling 1-844-GOBACKNOW.
“Many Georgians choose not to return to college because they believe it is too difficult, too expensive or simply inconvenient,” Deal said. “I have challenged our University System to make it easier for these Georgians to go back, and I’m pleased with the response. Regardless of individuals’ personal or financial situations, we are committed to making it possible to go back, move ahead and make college work.”
For more information about Complete College Georgia and the “Go Back. Move Ahead.” campaign, visit www.gobackmoveahead.org.