West Georgia Technical College
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In July 2009 West Central Technical College and West Georgia Technical College consolidated operations to form a new institution called West Georgia Technical College. The merger was one of several designed to reduce administrative costs and improve student access to programs within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The mergers integrated the colleges' administrations and their local boards of directors, with all campus locations remaining open. The main campus of one college within each merger was designated as the administrative campus, serving as the home of the president's office, and a provost was assigned to oversee daily operations at the other campus(es).
The administrative campus of West Georgia Tech is located at the Carroll Campus in Carrollton, in Carroll County. Irby "Skip" Sullivan, the former president of West Central Tech, was named president of the new college, and Perrin Alford, the former acting president of West Georgia Tech, was named provost.
West Georgia Tech's service delivery area includes Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup counties. Locations include the Coweta Campus in Newnan, Douglas Campus in Douglasville, LaGrange Campus in LaGrange, and Murphy Campus in Waco (named for Tom Murphy, a state representative from Haralson County who served for twenty-eight years as Speaker of the House). In 2009 the college was the second largest in the TCSG, with more than 9,100 students and 200 programs. West Georgia Tech also administers one of the largest adult education programs in the system and participates in dual enrollment programs with local high schools.
As with other technical colleges governed by the TCSG, admission to West Georgia Tech relies on eligibility and academic criteria: candidates must be at least sixteen years old (older for some programs). A high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma is required for entry into most programs, except designated diploma and certificate programs. Most diploma and certificate programs require a high school diploma or GED prior to graduation from West Georgia Tech. Once all requirements are met, students can earn an associate degree, an expanded program of study that facilitates career mobility and continuing education at the baccalaureate level; a traditional diploma; or a technical certificate of credit, a short-term targeted program that prepares students for specific jobs.
West Central Tech, initially known as Carroll Technical Institute, opened its first campus in 1968 in Carrollton, the seat of Carroll County, under the directorship of Jack Cox. That first year around 125 students enrolled in eleven occupational programs, including automobile mechanics, cosmetology, and practical nursing. The school expanded in 1977 and again in 1987, when an industrial training center was completed. Wendell Hoomes became director of the college in 1982.
West Central Tech converted from local to state governance in 1987, and the following year it became part of the newly formed Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE; later TCSG). Judy Hulsey was president of the college from 1987 to 1995.
West Central Tech's Douglas County campus in Douglasville, including an instructional building, a conference center, and a child development center and laboratory, was completed in 1995. That same year Janet Ayers was named president. In 2000, in partnership with Coweta County schools and area businesses, the college opened the Central Educational Center to house both a charter high school and West Central Tech's Coweta campus. Also in 2000, due to legislation (Georgia House Bill 1187) that allowed technical institutes offering associate degrees to be called colleges, the school's name changed to West Central Technical College.
In 2001 West Central Tech became home to the Certified Wireless Network Professional Program's first Certified Wireless Education Center in the United States, and the following year classes began at a third location, the Murphy campus in Waco, which became the school's main campus. By that time the college's service delivery area included Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, and Haralson counties.
In 2003, after polling local businesses to determine their workforce needs, West Central Tech added programs in horticulture/turf management, hospitality arts, metal joining/welding, and Web site fundamentals. Skip Sullivan was appointed president in 2006, and that same year, in response to the demand for nurses in Georgia, West Central Tech received $75,000 from the DTAE to expand its registered nursing program. Economic development programs offered through the college included corporate training, continuing education, and Quick Start, a nationally recognized program that develops training for new and existing industries in Georgia. The college partnered with Quick Start to provide training for such area businesses as automotive parts maker HL-A.
According to the TCSG's 2008 annual report, 5,961 students were enrolled at West Central Tech.
West Georgia Tech's origins date back to 1966, when the first students enrolled in what was then called the Troup County Area Vocational-Technical School in LaGrange, the seat of Troup County. In 1987 the school transferred from local to state governance, changing its name to West Georgia Technical Institute. In 1988 West Georgia Tech came under the control of DTAE, and in 2000, with the passage of Georgia House Bill 1187, it became West Georgia Technical College.
In 2003 enrollment at West Georgia Tech exceeded 2,000 for the first time, and the school became the fastest-growing technical college in the state. Daryl Gilley was appointed president that year and served until his retirement in 2008, when he was succeeded by acting president Perrin Alford.
West Georgia Tech's commercial truck driving program, which boasted a 100 percent employment rate in 2003, partnered in 2007 with Southeastern Freight Lines to train commercial truck drivers from across the state. Early childhood care and education, another popular program, earned full accreditation from the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation Committee, and in 2007 the video production program won a bronze Telly award (given to outstanding local video, film, and Internet productions) for outstanding achievement in the Internet education program category. During this time the college also partnered with Quick Start to provide training for Korean automaker Kia's manufacturing plant in West Point.
According to the TCSG's 2008 annual report, 3,171 students were enrolled at West Georgia Tech.