Empower Center wins $3M grant!


Empower Board and TCSG members at the 12-6-18 award announcement.

Celebrating today’s announcement of the $3M grant are, from left, Mark Peevey, TCSG’s assistant commissioner for secondary education initiatives; Georgia Power’s Anne Kaiser, TCSG board chair; Dr. Howard Ledford, Lanier Technical College; Todd Shultz, director of career, technical and agricultural education for the Jackson County School System; Chad Bingham of Bingham Insurance Group; Arcade Mayor Doug Haynie; Empower Board Chair April Sorrow of Jackson EMC; JCSS Superintendent Dr. April Howard; TCSG Commissioner Matt Arthur; Jenny Williams, director of TCSG’s Office of College & Career Transitions; and Tim McDonald, Lanier Tech.

December 6, 2018 — The Empower College & Career Center was awarded a $3 million grant from the Technical College System of Georgia when the TCSG board met today in Atlanta.

EC3 will join a group of nearly 60 such schools across the state that have opened under an initiative led by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to bring local schools, the state’s technical college system, and business and industry leaders together to increase student achievement and support workforce development.

“Jackson County looks forward to EC3’s partnerships with Commerce City Schools, Foothills Academy, Lanier Tech and the University of North Georgia in this exciting opportunity for students,” Dr. Howard said. She and members of the EC3 board attended the TCSG board meeting for the announcement this morning.

The board is led by April Sorrow of Jackson EMC and includes Howard, Jim Shaw of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce; Dan Farris, Kubota; Kathy Wilbanks, AGM Real Estate LLC; Chad Bingham, Bingham Insurance Group; Tricia Massey, Piedmont Athens Regional; Dr. Carol Adams, University of North Georgia; Dr. Howard Ledford, Lanier Tech; Kathy Lindberg, Wilco Printing; and Ali Merk, 4-H UGA Extension Service.

Nearly 150 local business and industry representatives provided letters of support for the program as part of the grant proposal, which was submitted earlier this year.

The press release from the office of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle follows …

Seal of the office of the Lt. Governor

ATLANTA, GA – December 6, 2018 — Today, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), presented Empower College and Career Center with a grant of $3 million to build a workforce engine for Jackson County Schools.

Lt. Governor Cagle praised the partnership between local school systems, technical colleges, and industry, which has proven effective in increasing student achievement and workforce development across our state. Because of Lt. Governor Cagle’s initiative, there will be 47 College and Career Academies in Georgia. Over 20,000 students are already enrolled in College and Career Academies throughout Georgia, boasting graduation rates as high as 99%.

“Our students deserve every opportunity for academic success – and with the creation of Georgia’s next four College and Career Academies, we are one step closer to ensuring students across our state have access to these world-class learning institutions,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “These school systems have embraced innovation in the classroom, bringing business and community leaders together to ignite economic growth for many years to come.”

“Empower College & Career Center has taken great initiative to meet Jackson County’s workforce needs, while offering exceptional educational opportunities for students,” said Senator John Wilkinson. “This academy serves as a great example of how our community is growing as a hub of educational innovation to prepare our next generation of students for success in high-demand careers.”

“Jackson County is continuing to equip our students with the tools and resources needed to be competitive in today’s evolving job market,” said Senator Frank Ginn. “Empower College and Career Center has been awarded this grant because of the hard work and tireless efforts of regional industry and educational leaders, which will propel our community’s workforce to reach new heights.”

College and Career Academies are effectively developing programs to train high school students for in-demand careers. Students find that challenging, hands-on programs provide greater relevancy and value, which not only lead to higher graduation rates but also rewarding professional opportunities. The specified training for students is attractive to local businesses, and communities prosper from the highly-trained and skilled workforce.

In partnership with Lanier Technical College, Empower College and Career Center is designed to provide the students of Jackson County with valuable opportunities and resources that will ensure student success and accelerate regional economic growth. Currently boasting over 50 business, industry, and community partners, students will have access to the most advanced and relevant skilled job training.

Empower College and Career Center will serve as an educational hub offering innovative and high-demand pathway programs such as Manufacturing and Mechatronics, Healthcare Science, Multi-media and Audio/Visual Production, Architecture and Construction, and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics – with plans to continue growing over the next ten years.