Shortly after the calendar flipped into 2017, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the consolidation of Bainbridge State College (BSC) and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). Not long after that approval was finalized, Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) was asked to assume responsibility for the technical programs being offered by BSC.
During the discussions with the University System of Georgia (USG) to transfer the technical programs to SRTC, it became apparent that it would be in the best interest of the students, USG, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the state of Georgia to not only transfer the programs, but to also transfer the ownership and operations of the Bainbridge campus. The largest need for instructional space on the campus was for technical programs. The transfer is proposed for a July 2018 date and is contingent upon necessary approvals by regional accrediting agency SACSCOC and the retirement of BSC’s public private venture (PPV) capital liabilities.
But what exactly does this mean for the impacted communities? According to Dr. Craig Wentworth, President of Southern Regional Technical College, it means opportunity for growth.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Southern Regional to reach out to the community of Bainbridge and adjacent areas to promote and expand technical training and education in order to meet area business and industry workforce development needs. In turn, this should help with economic development. We are very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with ABAC and other partners to serve Bainbridge and nearby communities.”
Many residents understand the positive impact an acquisition like this can have on the community. You can count Scott Herrick, a Bainbridge denizen formally educated in business administration and nuclear electrical technology who also served as an electrician in the United States Navy for 21 years prior to entering private industry as a global consultant for maintenance and reliability, as one of them.
“As a maintenance and reliability consultant, I cannot begin to tell you how important this change is. The existing workforce in Bainbridge is, unfortunately, terribly under skilled for the job requirements of modern industry. Over the past decade, the majority of unskilled or low skilled jobs in the area have vanished. The only employers who have ventured into the area have brought most of their required labor with them. This is alarming for our community's financial future and even more so for the youth who are entering the workforce. In the greater scope, the population of workers in skilled fields is diminishing as they reach retirement. Employers are faced with the all too real possibility of having no one skilled enough to maintain their equipment, resulting in skyrocketing losses,” commented Herrick.
The administration at SRTC maintains this will be an excellent opportunity to expand the existing technical division currently housed at BSC, and that the combination of those technical programs and the baccalaureate and associate degree programs offered by ABAC will provide exceptional academic opportunities for area students.
Though many folks are familiar with the plethora of technical and occupational programs provided by TCSG institutions, most outside of the College aren’t aware of the many degree courses that can transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
“The arrival of a technological or skill training facility will return real work potentials to the youth, whether available in Bainbridge or somewhere else, and make the available workforce in Bainbridge much more attractive to industries in need of a home! Kudos to the people who created this wonderful opportunity for our town,” Herrick continued.
SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to expedite a student’s access to his or her desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia.
“Southern Regional Technical College continues to experience significant growth with a record enrollment of over 3,900 students for the current Fall 2017 semester. The College plans to expand its marketing and outreach of the institution by growing the enrollment on the Bainbridge Campus,” continued Wentworth.
SRTC has existing instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester and 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.