In this episode, we talk with students, instructors, and graduates of Athens Tech to hear first-hand about the College, its programs, and its impact.
Achieve More with Athens Tech, the official podcast of Athens Technical College.
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. Equal Opportunity Institution.
The faculty, if anything, has made this experience so much easier.
S2: I had never, ever pictured to have this career. It wasn't my goal when I first started this journey, but now I don't think I could picture me doing anything else.
S3: I didn't have the coffee that I have now. Like doing this has been huge for me.
S4: We have graduates from our programs that the entire graduating class has a job before they even graduate.
S5: Welcome to achieve more with Athens Tech, the official podcast of Athens Technical College. This is where you'll discover how the programs in Athens tech can connect you with in-demand and high paying careers. In today's episode, we'll find out what Athens Technical College is actually like from the students who attend in the instructors who teach. Plus, we'll hear a story of how Athens tech completely changed one man's life. Could it do the same for you? Maybe. First, let's hear from a couple of students.
S3: Hi, my name is Mary Bright, and I had the honor of receiving the 2022 Gold State of the Year at Athens Technical College. So right after right after I graduated from high school and I married my husband, we've been married for 27 years. I married my high school sweetheart. When I came back to school in 2018, I had been a pharmacy tech for 16 years, and the series of events that led me to go back to school was about 15 years ago. My dad had a heart attack and about six months after he had the heart attack, he had a whole bunch. He didn't work day. And after all the dental work was completed, the dentist actually told him that he prolonged his life by making the investment into his his oral health. There is a link between gum disease and heart disease. And I'm 45 years old and I'm a daddy's girl. And I feel like that if I can help one daughter keep her daddy in her life for a little bit longer, then the struggle and the journey would have been great for.
S1: All to start. My name is Urban Alvarez. Prior to my admission or acceptance, I have this tech. I was in the Marine Corps for four years and once I applied to Athens Tech, I am pursuing a two year degree or consumer economics and will continue to pursue my bachelor's degree at UGA in the School of Family Consumer Science.
S5: Irvin and Mary both came to Athens Tech from completely different backgrounds, but it seems that they found the help they needed here pretty easily.
S1: The faculty, if anything, has made this experience so much easier because especially my advisor, whenever I've had questions about what classes I should take, or is this the correct thing for my degree path or my goal of eventually going to UGA and finishing out my four year degree? She's provided an endless amount of support, answering all of those questions and even going above and beyond by taking my degree and going into my degree path and choosing workforce is what best fit my goal. So it's always been very hands on and very 1 to 1 whenever I needed it.
S3: Miss Burrell She believed in me before. I believed in me. She has completely changed my life and I will stay in contact with her accurate graduate.
S5: So what exactly does Athens Tech offered that makes students say things like that?
S4: My name is Stuart Frew. I'm the dean of the Life Sciences and Public Safety Division here in Athens Technical College. I started here at the college as the program chair for the radiography program and have since moved into a dean's position. Here.
S5: Dean through can answer the question of how Athens tech support students and instructors.
S4: It can be continuing education for instructors to learn how to use, let's say Blackboard our online learning environment, how to become a better user in that so that the students are getting more information in in a streamlined way. It can be equipment needed for dental hygiene, getting all new X X-ray equipment for them, brand new equipment for the radiography program, brand new equipment for we have new simulation mannequins that are upwards of 60 to $70000 to be bought for the EMT program. The nursing programs. Again, we are just anything and everything that these these programs are looking for. We we will look into and see if we can can get that for them so that student learning can continue to move forward. And I mean, those are kind of larger skills and equipment purchases. But again, it comes. Down to just resources for those instructors, making sure they understand the processes at the college. The extended services that we have here at ATC for students support, student support services, Veterans Affairs, so on and so forth. Those are all things that are available here. And I'm kind of a a conduit too, to help anybody that's looking for that information from an instructor, student standpoint, staff standpoint, to link them up with those resources so that they can be successful.
S5: Can you give us some more details?
S4: Well, disability services testing, we have a testing center. We have tutoring for specifically. It's in my division. We have an anatomy and physiology, open labs with student workers that are in there. We have tutors for anatomy and physiology. We have to use for master English. Those are outside of my division. Those are all student support services that are available here. Veteran services are available here at the college. In this division, we've gone above and beyond to provide what students need in order to be successful beyond just going home with the textbook or, you know, meeting with an instructor, which our instructors have open door policy here. They have office hours. They are more than willing to meet with students as they need to, which I would assume most higher education colleges or universities would do anyways. But again, for us to be able to provide those additional services is huge. And on top of that, we just remodeled and updated our entire library. It is it is spectacular. The online resources for students, whether it's databases like Sinal, as well as anything that we have hardback in that library, we have a tech nest where they can go in and play around with a 3D printer. We have individual study areas that are quiet rooms that they can reserve. Every one of the divisions now have laptops that can be checked out to instructors for classes. So if they want to do online testing or videos or whatever it is in the classroom, students need a laptop. We have those to to provide to those instructors so that students may not if they don't have a laptop to be able to do those things in the classroom environment, we can provide that to them.
S3: My name is Laurie Williams. I am the director of admissions here at Athens Technical College. A good candidate for a student here at Athens Technical College will be someone that wants good hands on training. Here at the college, we have a lot of great programs that are direct pathways into employment. So we have lots of opportunities that students get to jump right into direct core coursework for programs. Maybe they want to go into a health field more than that. Well, we have a lot of welding, automotive technology programs. So anybody that really wants to work with their hands do some problem solving. A lot of opportunities here for our students. We have a pretty diverse population of students. It may be someone that has just graduated high school and it can be somebody up into the 6070s that want to get retrained into a new endeavor.
S1: Yeah. Funny enough, I did encounter someone who was in their fifties, but even then, those individuals were. Were just as great. They. Some of them were. This was their first degree that they were pursuing and were actually very motivating because they were like, I didn't do it when I was in my twenties and now I'm here because I actually want to pursue and get my first degree in something. And I was like, That's just pretty inspiring.
S3: And we even have students that have graduated with bachelor's degrees that come back to look for more gainful employment or just get a new skill set to move up within their industry. So you do have a lot of students that just overcome a lot of barriers, a lot of trials and become successful in their workplaces.
S5: I want to introduce you to Jonathan.
S2: My name is Jonathan Smithberg, and I'm Program Chair for Industrial Systems Technology at Athens Technical College. So being a program chair, it's my job to manage the curriculum for the program and the faculty and the program and advise students on a course pass, along with delivering instruction and teaching students hands on lab activities.
S5: Yeah, Jonathan is an instructor here at Athens Tech, but his story is so much more than that.
S2: Here at the college, we have a whole range. So it's not just people coming out of high school or college, but that's that's another thing that's really, I think different about the technical college is we've got from people coming out of high school to last spring, I had somebody graduate who was 62 years old out of the program. So we've got to kind of everything in between. And so when it comes to apprehension, another thing I would say is people just think they can't do something or they like it's too late. I can't do that. I put that off and it's just too late to go back to school. Now, I'm here to tell you I'm a perfect example of that. So normally I'm on an instructor here at the college, but I actually came through the college's adult education program. I came to the college just looking to get a G.E.D. and here I am sitting as an instructor a few years later. So there's just so much to offer and it's not too late, you know, I didn't go. I'd had an eighth grade education, so I was 38 years old, you know. And today I'm sitting here talking to you with a career as a college instructor. So, you know, it's not too late to take those steps if you hadn't taken them already, even if the steps all the way to go back to get your diploma and get the kind of start out on that aspect, we can kind of take you through the whole thing from one end of the spectrum to the other. The another thing is, you know, I see is students going to maybe interested in a four year college coming out of high school and they don't get into their first pick, whatever they're picking. I have some I have four sons. And so, you know, them looking at schools and stuff like that, you know, they get so excited, you know, like looking at schools and kind of had their minds said, I want to get into this school or that school and they don't get in and then they kind of maybe just give up. And and a big thing you can do is go to a technical college and take general education credits and then enter the college system as a transfer student. And it's actually much easier to get into that college. And another big part of that is, is you save a lot of money because those years of transfer credits are much more expensive. It's a fraction of the cost of what that same tuition for those classes would cost at the four year university.
S5: I love Jonathan Storey and his excitement for the school. Is his story the norm? Probably not. Is his excitement for Athens tech the norm? Actually, yeah, it is.
S4: We're kind of this hidden gem here of that the college system in Georgia, $100 credit down. I mean, think about that $100 credit card. And then if you get hope scholarship, 80% of that is your tuition is covered. So you're paying 20% of that. That's 20 bucks a credit hour. That's that's pretty good. And then, you know, you can look at the success rates that come from the programs here in our division. Specifically, almost every one of our programs is at 100% pass rate on their national certification exams. If they're not at 100%, they're in the mid to high nineties. I don't know a lot of colleges that can brag on that on the way that we can. Job placement rates are all in near 100% from our programs within 12 months of graduation and then our attrition rates are great, but we don't lose students left and right. We're not here to weed students out. That's not our job. Our job is to bend over backwards to help students be successful. And our program effectiveness data shows that that's on our website. Every program has it. You can go look at it and each one of them, you're going to see that, that, that awesome number for each one of those categories.
S2: So yeah, my job is not to fail students is to make sure that students understand what I am teaching them. So if, if you know everything, then there's no use to come into a program and learn anything, right? The red ink is where the learning happens.
S3: Technical colleges are a great resource that are not utilized enough. They provide the foundation and the workforce that are really the backbone of these communities. They do the jobs that. Keep businesses building manufacturers going. And it actually is what helps drive some of the industry to come into our areas and help us economically that way. A lot of students even use this as a more affordable opportunity to go on to a four year institution. We have a lot of articulation agreements with four year institutions and a lot of our core classes with any of the university system schools articulate over. So it's a great opportunity to get a head start on those core classes and just more affordable, lower debt coming out of college. Little to no debt most of the time for our student. So it's just a great resource, great programs, great hands on knowledge in our instructors. Just ten years, the vast knowledge that they bring into their classrooms that give students real, real life examples of what they utilize out there in the workforce.
S5: Thanks for listening to achieve more with Athens Tech, the official podcasts of Athens Technical College.
S2: I'm a believer that to achieve more is to take care of the little things. I had made some mistakes earlier in life and I had a lot of big dreams of things I wanted to do and kind of walked around with my head in the clouds. It was just dreams. And I've learned that great things can happen to you if you can just kind of keep your head down and take care of the little things and just keep grinding away. And then one day you look up and you're on top of the world, you know, instead of having my head up in the clouds and never getting anywhere and and be open to things because I had never, ever pictured to be at a technical college instructor or have this career. It wasn't my goal when I first started this journey. And but now I don't think I could picture me doing anything else. So, you know, kind of just be open, take care of the little things and then see what opportunities present themselves.
S5: For more information, visit Athens. Text Edu.
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