From Georgia Northwestern Technical College:
Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) is offering a new Chemical Technology Laboratory Technician certificate program on the Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton to help meet the workforce development requirements of the floorcovering industry and provide real-world training in the field of chemistry.
“Workers in any of the floorcovering plants come into contact with dyes, pigments, acids, bases, polymers, and other related materials,” said Brent Lance, director of the Chemical Technology Laboratory Technician program at GNTC. “So a general knowledge of chemicals and chemical safety is just a good thing all around.”
The program was developed in response to requests from business and industry partners in the Whitfield County area to address a need for highly skilled individuals with a chemistry background.
“The Chemical Laboratory Technician program will provide graduates with an industry recognized certificate that will give them with the skills needed to go to work in a variety of jobs including dye technician, quality technician, compounder, lab technician, and product development,” said Brian Cooksey, director of operations training and development at Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
The program is part of an educational partnership between the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), and the University System of Georgia (USG).
The Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce coordinated the partnership, according to Ginger Mathis, associate vice president of academic affairs and campus manager of the Whitfield Murray Campus at GNTC.
“To meet the need, GNTC worked with our educational partners the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy and Dalton State College to develop the curriculum through strong industry guidance,” said Mathis. “This foundation was critical in the development of this program.”
Students can begin their career path by taking chemistry courses at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy (NWGCCA) in Dalton and earning dual enrollment credits towards the Chemical Technology Laboratory Technician certificate at GNTC.
“Chemicals make up a significant part of the carpet and floorcovering industry,” said Cooksey. “In northwest Georgia we also have a large chemical sector that not only supports the flooring industry but also many other industries around the world.”
Once students complete the certificate program they have the option of entering the workforce or continuing their education. If they chose to continue their education, the credits from GNTC will transfer towards a bachelor’s degree in scientific technology with a concentration in chemistry at Dalton State College.
Students also have the option to transfer the credits earned towards a diploma or an associate degree at GNTC.
This gives students the option of entering the workforce immediately upon completing the certificate program or continuing their education in post-secondary education. Either way, they begin their selected career path with an advantage.
“Basic skills in chemistry and measurements is very important whether it’s someone inside the factory that measures the consistency of dye color using an instrument, all the way up to an employee that works in the actual lab where they test materials all day long for quality control,” said Lance.
The certificate program is one of many dual enrollment programs offered by GNTC that provides high school students with the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. While dual enrollment has been possible in the State of Georgia since 2009, major changes were made in July of 2015 with the introduction of the Move On When Ready (MOWR) dual enrollment program that expanded opportunities for students.
For the past three years, GNTC has had the largest number of dual enrollment students out of all of the technical colleges in the state of Georgia according to the “High School Collaborative Enrollment: Academic Year 2016” report issued by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).