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Expo Showcases TCSG Colleges for Georgia’s School Counselors

Atlanta - Some of the top programs that Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) and the 27 other institutions in the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) have to offer were on display for the state’s school counselors during the TCSG Expo 2009, which was held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta on Monday, November 23.Photo 1

The event, held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Georgia School Counselors Association, highlighted some of the more than 600 degree, diploma and certificate programs that are available at the TCSG colleges. More than 800 counselors browsed the program displays and met the college presidents, faculty, staff and students while enjoying delicacies from a 100-foot long appetizer buffet created by the chefs and students from the colleges with culinary arts programs.

Okefenokee Technical College showcased its welding and joining technology program. As a “draw” for the welding booth, OTC students, supervised by program instructors Doug Furman and Ryan Mock, fabricated a bistro table and chair set, as well as a decorative metal petition to create a cozy coffee shop atmosphere for participants visiting the booth. Counselors were able to rest for a few minutes and drink a warm, soothing cup of coffee while they read brochures and discussed the OTC welding program and welding industry. Photo 2

Deedee Thomas, OTC high school coordinator and liaison for area high school counselors and students, helped coordinate the project and decorate the booth. Thomas offers her expertise to high school students interested in dual enrollment, joint enrollment, and ACCEL programs at OTC. She also helps students interested in OTC for postsecondary education with the admissions process.

The OTC welding program offers students five credentials: welding and joining technology diploma, flat shielded metal ARC welder certificate, gas tungsten ARC welder certificate, overhead shielded metal ARC welder certificate, and gas metal ARC welder fabricator certificate. Despite popular belief, the welding industry is seeking skilled welders. The welding industry estimates that as many as 200,000 additional welders will be needed within the next five years. It is anticipated that bridge structures, transit systems, water plants, and other public infrastructure will need repairs or replacement in the coming years that will necessitate a steady flow of skilled workers in the welding field.Photo 3

“We want Georgia’s school counselors to know that there are plenty of very good reasons why the Technical College System of Georgia can be their students’ first choice for a great college education and a future career,” said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. “TCSG colleges offer individualized instructor attention, affordable tuition and excellent career opportunities, and people are taking notice that technical education is today’s pathway for tomorrow’s jobs.”

Enrollment is booming at the technical colleges, with a record-breaking 110,000 students enrolled in the current fall quarter. A recent study the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement reported that TCSG colleges ranked among the top ten most popular college choices for graduating seniors in 165 state school systems, and a TCSG institution was the number one college choice in 62 of those systems.

Photo 1: Doug Furman (left), Deedee Thomas, and Ryan Mock (right) showcased OTC’s welding program at the TCSG Expo 2009 in Atlanta. More than 800 Georgia counselors attended the event, which was held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel. OTC would like to thank Terry Szeker of Kroger for sponsoring the “coffee shop,” which was a hit among counselors and TCSG state staff.

Photo 2: OTC instructors Doug Furman (left) and Ryan Mock (center) worked with welding students to fabricate a café-style table and chair set and decorative panels (pictured) that were used at the TCSG Expo in Atlanta to showcase Okefenokee Tech’s welding program. OTC high school coordinator Deedee Thomas (right) helped with the booth, which featured a coffee shop.

Photo 3: OTC automotive collision repair students, under the instruction of Terry Simmons, assisted welding students with the project, painting the items with a high gloss black finish, and Amanda Morris Dryden captured the entire process (fabrication and finishing) on video for viewing at the event. The unique pieces will be auctioned at the next OTC Foundation gala.



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