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Ninth Annual Business and Education Summit Puts Eyes On NW Georgia’s Future

Lieutenant Governor, NW Georgia Leaders Discuss Preparing Workforce, Growing Business


“Leading the way in a session on leadership in industry during day two of the Lieutenant Governor’s Ninth Annual Business and Education Summit are, from left, Jeff Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries; Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle; and Vance Bell, Chairman and CEO of Shaw Industries Group, Incorporated.”


(Calhoun, Georgia) – Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle is spending his second of two days in Northwest Georgia at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Gordon County Campus. With several hundred of Northwest Georgia’s industry and education leaders joining in, Cagle is helping lead the conversation on the region’s future in the Ninth Annual Lieutenant Governor’s Business and Education Summit.

Key decision makers in economic development, community partnerships, and leadership in the region are actively taking part in getting a first-hand look at the current state of Northwest Georgia’s ability to train the future workforce and sustain and grow Georgia business in the future. Cagle, as well as the executives leading area industries, are looking for ways to keep Georgia’s workforce market-ready to handle the ever-changing needs of the economy.

Monday, day one of the summit, was a field day of sorts. Morning tours were led through plants at Shaw Industries in Ringgold, Mohawk Industries in Dalton, and Anheuser-Busch in Cartersville.



Summit participants spent the afternoon at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Calhoun. Business and economic leaders discussed the state’s growth and the impact on the communities, the power of apprenticeship programs that international companies in Georgia are utilizing, and the benefit of community relationships in the classroom, as well as innovation and a new way of thinking in teaching the future workforce.

Tuesday, day two of the summit, focused on innovative leadership both in the workplace and the classroom. Leaders of the area’s top industries, as well as the Technical College System of Georgia, GNTC, and the region’s college and career academies, spoke about what’s being done today to help improve Georgia’s 21st century workforce tomorrow.

All six of Northwest Georgia’s College and Career Academies, as well as GNTC, donated time and resources to help make the summit possible. For more information about GNTC, you can call 866.983.4682 (GNTC). For information online, visit the college 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 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.

GeorgiaBEST Certificates presented to GNTC Adult Education Students

GNTC and the City of Cedartown Host Cedartown Business Builders Program

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Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) and the City of Cedartown are working together on a new initiative that prepares small business owners and local entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s economy.

The Cedartown Business Builders Program, a six-month curriculum, is currently underway until November. The program provides participants with the knowledge and skills to open and operate a business in Cedartown.

Instructors from GNTC are leading two sessions each month on marketing and customer service. There is also monthly networking sessions that gives participants the opportunity to hear from and interact with various business and industry leaders.

“We’ve had people come from the Downtown Cedartown Association and on the state level we’ve had people from the Georgia Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs” said April Welch manager of GNTC’s Polk County Campus. “One person came in to talk about historical grants that may be available to individuals based on where they choose to open their business and another speaker discussed grants and funding that is available from the State of Georgia.”

A mentoring committee, comprised of business leaders in Cedartown, also is available to participants as a resource. Members of the committee include a funeral home owner, a Certified Personal Accountant (CPA), an insurance agency owner, a local practicing attorney, a director of Human Resources, and others.

“We have a very strong base of community support that is providing expert knowledge and information to the students,” said Welch.

Mark Upton, director of the Marketing Management program at GNTC, leads one of the monthly sessions on the first Tuesday of each month. Upton’s sessions cover everything that is involved in marketing a business.

“We started with developing a business model and kind of preparing to get your business model and plan together on paper so that it makes sense and your prepared to take it to the investors,” said Upton “Recently we talked about management and even got into the human resources side of management; how to recruit, screen, and select the right people and then train, develop, evaluate, and manage those people.”

Beverly Padgett, director of the Service Industry Academy and instructor of Speech at GNTC, leads the second session on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Padgett’s sessions are about customer service, which covers not only the people that business owners consider to be their customers, but also identifying the wider target customer market.

“Customer Service is more important than ever before with 67% of customers choosing where they do business based on how they are treated. Customers know that they have choices and they have an expectation that the interaction be a good one,” said Padgett. “A new business can gain great market share by establishing a wonderful rapport with customers who will, in turn, share their positive experience about the business with others.”

The classes are held at the City of Cedartown Council Room and networking seminars rotate to separate locations each month. Business tours are also planned for the month of July.

“It is truly a practical, hands-on, approach on how to have a successful small business,” said Welch.

The culminating event will take place at the Cedartown Auditorium in October with the participants presenting their business plan, marketing plan, and their financial structure to a panel in a setting similar to the television show “The Shark Tank.” Judges and members of the community will rank the presentations and awards will be presented to winners in different categories.

There also will be a graduation celebration and reception in November.

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.

Enrollment on the Rise as Georgia Northwestern Technical College Enters Winter Quarter

Enrollment at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) continues to rise as the college enters winter quarter. Reports show the college enrolled 6,367 for winter 2011. This is an increase of 434 students (7.3%) over winter 2010 enrollment of 5,933.

“Our rate of growth is beginning to level off and hopefully it indicates a better job market,” commented Dr. Craig McDaniel, president of GNTC. “As we begin providing programs for the citizens of Whitfield and Murray Counties and later when we open our Catoosa County Campus, I anticipate our enrollment exceeding 8,000 students.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College has approximately 2,356 students enrolled at the Floyd County Campus, 955 at the Gordon County Campus, 318 at the Polk County Campus, and 2,738 at the Walker County Campus.

GNTC has 3,246 students enrolled full time and 3,121 enrolled part time at the college.

The number of GNTC students enrolled in online classes continues to soar as well. With approximately 300 instructor-facilitated online classes being offered, GNTC has 2,045 students enrolled in at least one online class this quarter.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer the programs and courses that the students need,” stated Dr. Mindy McCannon, vice president of Academic Affairs. “I encourage anyone who would like to further their education or get re-trained to come visit us. We are here to help.”

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia. Campuses are located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, and Walker counties with future plans for a campus in Catoosa and Whitfield counties. Approximately 23,000 people currently benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs.

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