(Calhoun, GA) – When Michael Johns began pursuing his GED® diploma at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) he was just doing it for himself. In the process he became the statewide EAGLE representative for the State of Georgia and then went on to earn a scholarship as a Construction Management major at GNTC. Today, he owns his own construction business in Calhoun.
“When I went to school, I was scared at first but once it began I started believing I could do this,” said Johns. “Once I really saw what it was about, I enjoyed it, and the more I went the more fun I had at school.”
Johns was the recipient of the statewide EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education) Award in 2009. The EAGLE Awards program was the first Adult Education statewide effort in the U.S. to turn the spotlight on successful adults using the local adult education programs to improve their lives through learning.
“A lot of times I’d stay over and help people in class. I loved to work with people and I think that’s one of the reasons they elected me for the EAGLE Award,” said Johns. “I love to help people and I like to see people happy and it’s the same with my customers in my construction work.”
As a Construction Management major, Johns was awarded the Helen and Vernon Crawford Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to students who have completed the GED® program and have elected to continue in secondary education.
The Helen and Vernon Crawford Scholarship is named for the couple who first began their work in literacy at Literacy Action, the largest community based adult basic education provider in Georgia, and soon became strong advocates for advancing the literacy of anyone who wished to learn to read.
“After I got my GED® I wanted to get my diploma in Construction Management,” said Johns. “I had already worked in that field a little bit and so I said ‘this is what I want to do’ because I enjoyed it.”
According to Donny Holmes, director of the Construction Management program at GNTC, Johns was one of those people that always went above and beyond.
“There was a time we were building a garage for a person in Calhoun and Michael even brought some of his own equipment to help make it work and he didn’t get paid a dime for it,” said Holmes. “He was a leader and he already had some experience so he would kind of try to help and encourage other students who maybe didn’t have as much knowledge in construction.”
Today, Johns owns Mike Johns Services and provides construction work in the North Georgia region and the surrounding areas.
“I always wanted to start my own business and the best thing about my job is it’s always something different,” said Johns. “Every day may be construction work, but it is always different.”
Johns says that anyone considering the GED® program should simply believe in themselves.
“I got to know people, see different situations, and see other people reach their accomplishments,” said Johns. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.”
The Adult Education program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College served 3,245 students and graduated 699 students with a GED® Diploma in Fiscal Year 2014. The Adult Education program at GNTC serves approximately 3,000 students in nine counties with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties and off-campus learning centers in Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Murray, Polk, and Walker counties. Classes are also held in seven different Correctional facilities. GED® Testing Centers are located on campus in Floyd, Gordon, Walker, and Whitfield counties.
GNTC is an official General Educational Development® Testing Center and a site for computer-based GED® Testing in partnership with Pearson Vue and the Technical College System of Georgia. The mission of GNTC’s Adult Education program is to enable every adult learner in the service delivery area to acquire the necessary basic skills to be able to compete successfully in today’s workplace, strengthen family foundations, and exercise full citizenship.
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.