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Bobcat SkillsUSA Teams Lead Way At Nationals

Georgia Northwestern’s Fincher wins college’s first national gold, two more medal in Louisville


GNTC's Ryan Fincher Winning Gold At Nationals
“Cedartown, Georgia’s Ryan Fincher becomes Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s first-ever national champion in the 2017 SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Fincher, shown third from the left, poses alongside his other Top-10 finishers on the medal stage in Louisville, Kentucky. Fincher is a three-time Georgia SkillsUSA champion, twice on the high school level and once on the collegiate level.”



(Northwest Georgia) – After the dust settled on a competition floor large enough to house more than 15 football fields, the students of Georgia Northwestern Technical College would find themselves among the best in the nation at the 2017 Nationals SkillsUSA Competition. More than 6,000 students qualified in their home states to compete at the national competition this summer in Louisville, Kentucky. But when the competitions would close on more than 100 professional skills categories, it would be the Bobcats standing near the top of the next generation workforce.

Leading the way and standing tall atop the medal platform for Georgia Northwestern Nationals SkillsUSA Team was Cedartown, Georgia’s Ryan Fincher. The 2017 Georgia SkillsUSA Welding Champion became GNTC’s first-ever national champion. Fincher, a product of GNTC’s Welding Technology program, is no stranger to the national stage, though. In his junior and senior year at Cedartown High School, Fincher was a two-time state champion in welding at the Georgia SkillsUSA Competition in Atlanta, Georgia.

Also, placing nationally for GNTC were Bobcat teams in the Chapter Display and Career Pathways categories. Taking home the bronze in Chapter Display was the GNTC team of Brandy LeVan (Rock Spring, Georgia), Melisa Fajardo (Dalton, Georgia), and Kate Hendricks (Rock Spring, Georgia.) Another Bobcat crew also grabbing a third place finish at nationals was the college’s Career Pathways team. Beck Maxwell (Euharlee, Georgia), Melvin Mitchell (Cartersville, Georgia), and Dusty Powell (Aragon, Georgia) made up the bronze medal entry from GNTC.

GNTC’s total medal count (7) from the national competition was among the tops from qualifiers in the Peach State. The college, along with other teams from the Technical College System of Georgia, qualified 111 contestants for slots in Louisville. In all, Georgia Technical College entries brought home a total of 53 medals: 24 gold, 12 silver, and 17 bronze. The lofty medal count made Georgia the winningest state in this year’s skills competition.

As for other great performances from the Bobcat contingency, enter Ashley Davenport (Rome, Georgia). Davenport would finish fifth in the nation in the Cosmetology category. Only 37 points out of a possible 1,000 points separated Davenport (952.67) from the top spot. Davenport finished second at the state level of SkillsUSA in March, therefore, she did not originally qualify for a trip to the national competition. However, just one week before the competition, Davenport was told that the state’s winner was unable to take part in nationals and she would be taking the spot.

Also making his presence known was Branton Bailey (Resaca, Georgia). Bailey would take home a top-10 finish claiming eighth place in the nation in Cabinetmaking. Only 67 points out of a possible 1,000 points separated Bailey (921.5) from the title. Both Bailey and Davenport, along with nine others from Georgia Northwestern, earned enough points to qualify for gold medal consideration. Those entrants receive a “Skills Points Certificate” to recognize their high-level of performance. Among those entrants from GNTC were top finishers Fincher, LeVan, Fajardo, and Hendricks; as well as Electrical Construction Wiring entry Eric Vargas (Rome, Georgia); and TeamWorks entry competitors Barry Arrington (Calhoun, Georgia), Bo Dooley (Resaca, Georgia), Shawn Clark (Calhoun, Georgia), and Noah Wilson (Fairmount, Georgia). This is only the college’s second time competing in the TeamWorks category. Last year, the team took home the bronze for the third best performance in the nation in the construction-based classification. Arrington and Dooley made repeat appearances from the 2016 squad.

Additionally, Georgia Northwestern Technical College received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Families and Groups. The President’s Volunteer Service Award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation on behalf of the President of the United States. It recognizes the best in American spirit and encourages all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation. In March, the college chapter was awarded Georgia SkillsUSA’s highest honor, the Chapter of Distinction award. GNTC SkillsUSA Advisor Missy McClain, along with the instructors of the college, helps organize the events and train the contestants for each year’s team beginning every winter.

Winners in each category of the competition take home prize packages that complement their chosen vocation. Fincher took home thousands of dollars in tools and equipment for his first place finish in Louisville. “It’s just a great opportunity for this next generation of skilled worker,” said Scott Carter, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Electrical Systems Technology Instructor. “Our college really performed excellent. But it’s about more than the competition itself. One of our students heard that industry recruiters at this event will sometimes make job offers to specific contestants they would like to hire.  Before the event, the student said he was moving to Bakersfield, California this fall and didn’t want to take any new jobs right now. Then, one company rep approached him during the competition to offer a job. He told the rep he was moving to California soon. The rep asked him if he would be moving anywhere near Bakersfield because that’s where I was going to offer you a job!”
Each year, the National SkillsUSA Competition takes place during the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference. Now, in its 53rd year, the competition saw more than 6,000 high school and collegiate qualifiers compete in front of nearly 1,500 judges in more than 100 categories ranging from Advertising Design to Welding and everything in between. SkillsUSA is a national, nonprofit student organization that has developed more than 10 million workers through active partnerships between employers and educators across the nation.

For details on enrolling at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, or to ask questions about any of the more than 200 programs the college offers on-campus or online, call the college at 866-983-4682. If you are interested in applying to GNTC for fall semester, applications are due by July 24. You can also visit the college at Plus, the college’s Student Help Centers can help you with any question you have. Visit a Student Help Center on the Catoosa, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, or Whitfield Murray Campuses Monday through Friday between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For additional information, you may also visit GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

So You’re Going To College This Fall? Deadline Is Two Weeks Away!

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STEM Camps Taking Place On Georgia Northwestern Campuses

Middle Schoolers To Get Summer Push Towards
Education For Next Generation Careers

First Lady GNTC Whitfield Murray

“National publication ‘STEM Jobs’ magazine has featured Georgia Northwestern Technical College as one of the top schools in preparing for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. First Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal, right, has previously toured the GNTC Whitfield Murray Campus’ technology labs and classrooms. GNTC Electronics Technology instructor Ronald Turner, left, and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ginger Mathis, middle, gave the First Lady a tour of the facilities during this visit.”


(Northwest Georgia) – Hundreds of middle-school students from across Northwest Georgia will be headed to college for a week this summer in hopes of finding their futures in the labs and classrooms of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC.)

The Catoosa County Campus, Floyd County Campus, and the Whitfield Murray Campus of GNTC will help host the 2017 STEM Camps in June. It’s all part of a local economic development strategy designed to point students into fields that will help grow current industry, as well as bring new industry to the Peach State.

Nearly a decade old, the original STEM program was designed by the Department of Education to help make American students among the world’s best educated when it comes to the academic areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

In Northwest Georgia, STEM organizers are attempting to help students explore skill sets needed and the careers which will be available in the area’s advanced manufacturing fields in this next generation. So, GNTC, the College & Career Academies of the region, and the middle schools across the region have partnered with area corporations to create these camps.

Rising sixth through eighth-graders in the Dalton, Georgia area will be spending the week of June 5 on the Whitfield Murray Campus of GNTC, as well as the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy. Among the areas students will be experiencing are 3-D Design, Electronics, Laser Fabrication, and Robotics. Campers will also get to learn about and experience the world of robotics and hovercrafts during their week.

The week of June 12, middle school students from Floyd and Catoosa County will be spending their days on the Floyd County Campus and Catoosa County Campus, respectively. Among the activities campers will experience that week will be Electronics, Basic Coding, Designing Carpet, Race Car Designing, and Engineering.

There will also be an additional STEM Camp in Calhoun, Georgia June 19-22 at the Gordon County College & Career Academy across from GNTC’s Gordon County Campus. Activities at that camp will included graphic design, engineering drawing and design, robotics, information technology, industrial sciences, team building, soft skills, marketing, and video production.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682.  For information online, visit the college at, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Emily Connell Represents GNTC at the Statewide EAGLE Leadership Institute

EAGLE Winner and GNTC President
Pete McDonald (right) president of GNTC poses for a picture with Emily Connell (left) GNTC’s EAGLE delegate.

(Stone Mountain, GA) – Emily Connell of Catoosa County represented Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) at the statewide EAGLE Leadership Institute held March 13-15, in Stone Mountain.

The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors those students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education classes and programs. A representative was chosen for each of the 22 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia, Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton Public Schools, and Cobb County School District.

Connell, a resident of Ringgold, was nominated for GNTC’s EAGLE award by Lindsay Baker. She received her General Educational Development® diploma in January 2016 and is pursuing an associate degree in Social Work at the Walker County Campus of GNTC. Upon graduation, Connell plans to continue her education and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and her career goal is to work with veterans.

EAGLE Presentation
Emily Connell (center) receives a trophy for being named GNTC’s EAGLE delegate from TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin (right) and Beverly E. Smith (left) TCSG assistant commissioner.

EAGLE (Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education) is the first statewide program in the nation that recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in adult education programs. This student recognition program is designed to create greater awareness of educational opportunities that are available in local communities across the state and to foster greater involvement in lifelong learning pursuits.


GNTC’s National TeamWorks Entry Honored In Atlanta

From left, Gretchen Corbin, Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner; Evan Brackett, GNTC TeamWorks; Barry Arrington, Jr., GNTC TeamWorks; and Joe Yarbrough, Chair of the Technical College System of Georgia Board of Directors.


(Atlanta, GA) – The Technical College System of Georgia’s Board of Directors honored Georgia Northwestern’s SkillsUSA TeamWorks Squad during the board’s meeting in Atlanta, Georgia Thursday. Evan Brackett and Barry Arrington, Jr., two members of the national entry, made the trip to receive the honor on behalf of the team.

This past summer,  a squad of GNTC construction aces made history in Louisville, Kentucky. Barry Arrington of Calhoun, Georgia; Evan Brackett of Rome, Georgia; Burt Burns of Lindale; and Bo Dooley of Calhoun, Georgia became the first group to ever qualify and compete from Georgia in the TeamWorks category of SkillsUSA. Of course, the GNTC unit thought since they were already making the trip to the Bluegrass State, why not make it all a little more historic? So, that’s what they did as the team from the Peach State would take home third place out of 14 states which qualified to compete nationally in the TeamWorks construction category. The SkillsUSA TeamWorks category involves a construction project to be completed. It requires a team of four contestants to work together in reading blue prints and creating an action plan. Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and masonry skills are put to use during the project. From ordering the materials to be used to planning the completion of each phase of the job, judges looked closely at each team’s ability to work within building codes, jobsite safety and cleanliness, proper use and accountability of tools and equipment, and the overall efficiency of the team project.

GNTC Paving Way For Teens With “Move On When Ready” Initiative

State Officials, Local School Administrators Tour Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy

“Several education administrators stop to talk about part of the Move On When Ready program while touring the Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy in Rome, Georgia Friday afternoon. Seen here are, from left, Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Pete McDonald, Georgia State Finance Commission President Tricia Chastain, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Dean of Academic Affairs Barry Williams, Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Gretchen Corbin, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College Assistant Dean of Industrial Technology Bill Scoggin.”

(Rome, Georgia) – For the past three years, Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) High School Initiatives staff has led the Peach State in the dual enrollment of high-school students. Now, the key element in Georgia’s new “Move On When Ready” (MOWR) initiative, more dually-enrolled students than ever are taking part in earning credit in both high school and college simultaneously. Some of the region’s leading educators visited GNTC’s Floyd County Campus in Rome, Georgia on Friday to see for themselves.


A presentation of the college’s record-setting numbers and the future of MOWR in Northwest Georgia showcased the first-half of the day. In the afternoon, regional and state administrators took a guided tour of the robotics facility at the Floyd County College and Career Academy where many students dual-enrolled in MOWR take courses. The academy is located across the street from the Floyd County Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome.


MOWR gives students from public, private, and home study schools across Georgia the opportunity to enroll in dual-enrollment credit classes by way of state colleges such as GNTC. Tricia Chastain, President of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), as well as administrators and counselors from throughout the region and the state, took part in the presentation. It’s the funding from GSFC that helps make MOWR possible.


“This program has really taken off in Northwest Georgia,” said Chastain. “One area that we will be working towards with Move On When Ready is getting students to take more than just traditional core college courses. We want this program to apply to all levels of students. We will do whatever we can to give Georgia students every chance they deserve.” Murray County High School in Chatsworth, Georgia ranks in the top 10 of all Georgia high schools when it comes to dual-enrollment numbers. Cedartown (GA) High School ranks in the top 25.



Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Gretchen Corbin was also on hand to catch a glimpse of how this program is excelling at GNTC. MOWR is a statewide program which covers tuition, fees, and textbooks for high school students earning college credit through this program. MOWR now offers more dual enrollment courses than in years past.


“Georgia Northwestern, along with every one of the K-12 schools it partners with, boasts the number one Move On When Ready option in the entire state,” said the Northwest Georgia native. “With so many students here in the region coming out of high school with real college credits already under their belt, it’s easy to see why this is a powerful option for the private, public, and home-school student in this area. Plus, with no real cost to the student, it’s going to become harder and harder for families to say no to this option.” Corbin is a 1989 graduate of Cedartown High School.


GNTC’s High School Initiatives department has played a key role this year in the dual-enrollment of more than 1,700 high-school students enrolled in MOWR across the college’s nine-county service area. “Helping students get acclimated to college-level coursework without causing financial strain on the families. That’s a huge part of this program,” said Kristi Casey-Hart, Georgia Northwestern Technical College High School Initiatives Specialist.


Any 9th through 12th grader in the state of Georgia, public, private, or home schools student who has earned the required test scores, is eligible to take part in the program. Courses are offered to these students, on-campus and/or online. “Move On When Ready was made to make things easier for our high school students to find success,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College Vice President of Student Affairs Stuart Phillips. “This is a program which allows the students to earn high school and collegiate credit at the same time. Any student who qualifies academically, with the recommendation of his or her school, can take part. Funding for the program is not based on the income of the student’s family.”


For more information on the Move On When Ready program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, you can contact GNTC at 866.983.4682 (GNTC). For information online, visit them at, as well as on their Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.


Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Want To Fill The Paws And Claws, Shredder Is Waiting

Lottery Leaves Bobcats Looking For New Shredder The Bobcat!
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Dental Assisting Career / Details Right Now!

Morgan Matthews (l) Jayla Delgado (r)

GNTC’s Continuing Education program is offering a Certified Nurse Assistant course that will begin on Monday, July 25th. This 92-hour course has been designed for individuals seeking to become State of Georgia certified nursing assistants. The Georgia Department of Medical Assistance has approved this course. The 12-week course will meet on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. each night on the Walker County Campus. For more information, please contact Donna Henderson at or phone 706-764-3591.

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