Stephen Mathis’ class at Southern Regional Technical College doesn’t spend a lot of time in desks, listening to him lecture in front of a white board. Instead, walking into his classroom is like walking into a busy construction site. One student is on a ladder running conduit overhead. Another student is carefully threading wires into an electrical panel. Still another is checking the connections on the light switches that he has just wired. The students and Mr. Mathis share good-natured banter back and forth as he checks each student’s work, making corrections and giving advice. Mr. Mathis instructs with a wry smirk and a rumbling laugh, but he takes his job seriously.
Darren Hiers, a student who is adroitly installing several new outlets into an exposed wall using a hand-drawn schematic, appreciates Mr. Mathis’ laid-back teaching style. “He does a great job. He spends a lot of time challenging us. He doesn’t lecture a lot, but he puts us to work. This type of education is more hands-on than lecture. It’s clear that he’s passionate about this.” Darren is in his last few weeks of class before graduation, but this is not his first time in college. He first graduated back in 1998 with a Political Science degree. Nineteen years later, he’s quick to say that if he could do it all over again, he would have learned a hands-on trade from the beginning. “I’m here for job security. My dad went to school here on this same campus in the 60s, and made a good living all his life. I was in a position in my own life where I needed to do something different. I was ready to learn a trade.” Completing an
Electrical Systems degree only takes about a year and a half, and after a period of job-hunting frustrations, Darren is ready to start his new career. “The main thing I'd point out about any specific trade taught at our school is that having the training and education from here carries over into the 'real world' very positively. It's so difficult to get a job these days for anyone. You can't find many job postings for decent jobs that do not ask for either 1-4 years of experience or a specific degree or both. But having a trade and being certified in a particular "field" translates into many real world jobs.”
Darren’s instincts are backed up by facts. A 2014 study found that the number one employee shortage, both nation-wide and globally, was in skilled trades. The second and third most critical areas of employee shortages were engineers and technicians. All of those lucrative career paths involve some kind of vocational or technical training. Even now, the skills gap continues to widen, and as a nation people aren’t being trained fast enough to meet the demand for skilled employees.
Mr. Mathis believes that smart students returning to college for a new career like Darren are making an excellent move. “You still have to have a good head on your shoulders, but you aren’t crammed into an office. You are thinking on your own, pushing your own way through challenges… it’s just a great career for smart people who don’t want to sit at a desk all day."
Southern Regional Technical College has a 100% total job placement rate, and Mr. Hiers is no exception. Last week, he was offered a fantastic job with an engineering firm. He gladly accepted.
SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to www.southernregional.edu or call (888) 205 – 3449.
Summer Semester 2017 Begins May 18th. Don’t wait, enroll today!