Richard "Tirere" Nelson, GNTC student, helps Walker County resident

This month, Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Social Work Assistant students worked with North Georgia Community Action (NGCA) to determine if Walker County residents would be eligible for the Energy Assistance program.

North Georgia Community Action is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for residents in their service area. According to NGCA, the Energy Assistance program is one of the most highly utilized programs and is designed to provide financial assistance to low income families and individuals in order to help offset the increased costs of home heating during the winter season.

Susan Suitz, director of North Georgia Community Action, received over 1,200 applications from residents in the Walker County area. She quickly realized that she and her current staff could not handle the large amount of applications and contacted GNTC for their support.

The students put into action the fundamentals they had been learning in the classroom.  Fifteen students met at the Second Baptist Church in LaFayette where they helped the residents complete the applications necessary to see if they could qualify for up to $350 to pay for energy bills.

According to Pamela Turner, director and instructor of the Social Work Assistant program, “my students made a real difference in the North Georgia area.”

GNTC’s Social Work Assistant program is designed to prepare individuals to obtain entry-level employment in public and private social service agencies. The social work assistant is equipped with the skills, knowledge, values, and sensitivity to effectively serve human needs in a variety of community settings. Students have the option to select courses that will prepare them to provide client services, as well as support for families in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They may assist clients in identifying social and community services that will best assist them. They may assist the social worker in developing, organizing, and conducting programs to resolve problems relevant to human relations, substance abuse, adult day care, and rehabilitation.

To learn more about the Social Work Assistant program, please visit us at