Sees Increase in Veteran Enrollment
Military experience provides individuals with in-depth technical experience and an aptitude for detail and consequently the Machine Tool Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) is seeing more veterans enroll into the program.
According to Bart Jenkins, director of the Machine Tool Technology program at GNTC, one-fourth of the students in the program on the Floyd County Campus are military veterans.
“I’m going to say the quality of students has increased because of the addition of the veterans here,” said Jenkins.
Veterans gain valuable technical experience when they serve in the military and a large amount of that experience translates into the problem-solving skills and precision that is taught in the Machine Tool Technology program at GNTC.
“It’s very technical and the attention to detail and other skills you learn in the military correlates well to machine tool,” said Matthew Aliberti, a former staff sergeant that went on tours in Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. “You have to constantly check measurements, plus it’s very broad, so there’s a lot of applications you can use it in.”
Aliberti says that the stability of the profession was also a big reason he chose to enter the program.
“The job prospects are high, there’s a lot of guys right now that are getting ready to retire so there are a lot of job openings,” said Aliberti. “I see companies come in here at least two or three times a semester looking to hire guys out of the school because GNTC has a good reputation, so if you want a job it is definitely a good job with good pay.”
Brooks Cain, a former specialist that did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, says that he would recommend the program to anyone who enjoys Math and using their hands all day.
“I was a mechanic in the Army and this kind of coincides with it, said Cain. “I’m fascinated with turning a piece of material into a useable part.”
To Brian Pierce, a former specialist in the Army who did three tours in Iraq, this also meant connecting with other veterans while receiving hands-on experience with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and lathe machines.
“I actually already knew Brooks, me and him kind of grew up together, it was pretty cool to see a familiar face both being in the military and just knowing that there are a lot of military people here,” said Pierce. “You can click better, you can adapt better to the environment here, and it’s just easier so I think I picked the right subject to study.”
Jenkins says that military training in general, in addition to the technical experience, makes veterans very good students.
“They are always on time and their work ethic is great,” said Jenkins. “I wish I had a whole shop full of them.”
Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 16,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in Georgia.