Manufacturing Leaders Helping Train Future of NW Georgia

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Three Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students are benefitting this year from the help of one of the state’s major trade organizations which represents Georgia manufacturers. Joshua Dunagan of Dalton, Georgia; Andrew Jarrett of Cedartown, Georgia; and Caleb Pledger of Lyerly, Georgia were selected for the Manufacturers Education Foundation (MEF) Scholarship.

The MEF Scholarship is in place to help recognize outstanding academic achievement by rewarding qualifying students with financial assistance. “Helping the students earn an education with this scholarship is a great way to help build up the future of industry here in Northwest Georgia,” said Roy Bowen, President of Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM).

Bowen, along with Andrea Harper, GAM Director of Workforce Development; April Howard, Miura America Co., Ltd. Human Resources; Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Director of Operations Training and Development; and Pete McDonald, GNTC President, took part in visiting with and congratulating GNTC’s three MEF Scholarship winners.

Dunagan, Jarrett, and Pledger each received a $500 stipend for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. Each winner will also have the opportunity to receive a total of $1,500 for the academic year which ends with the Summer 2018 term at GNTC.

Joshua Dunagan, one of three Manufacturers Education Foundation Scholarship winners at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, poses for a picture with administrators. Shown inside a Georgia Northwestern Technical College Lab on the Whitfield Murray Campus are, from left, Andrea Harper, Georgia Association of Manufacturers Director of Workforce Development; Pete McDonald, Georgia Northwestern Technical College President; Dunagan; Scottie Spears, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Director of Industrial Systems Technology; Roy Bowen, Georgia Association of Manufacturers President; and Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Director of Operations Training and Development.
Joshua Dunagan, one of three Manufacturers Education Foundation Scholarship winners at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, poses for a picture with administrators. Shown inside a Georgia Northwestern Technical College Lab on the Whitfield Murray Campus are, from left, Andrea Harper, Georgia Association of Manufacturers Director of Workforce Development; Pete McDonald, Georgia Northwestern Technical College President; Dunagan; Scottie Spears, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Director of Industrial Systems Technology; Roy Bowen, Georgia Association of Manufacturers President; and Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Director of Operations Training and Development.

Dunagan applied for the scholarship during his senior year with the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Dalton, Georgia. Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Director of Operations Training and Development, said he was impressed with Joshua from the start. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with and getting to know him through our apprenticeship program,” said Cooksey. “He’s a smart, hard-working, and goal-oriented young man.” Now, a freshman with GNTC on the Whitfield Murray Campus, Dunagan is pursuing his Industrial Systems Technology degree.

Jarrett, a 28-year-old United States Marine Corps veteran, is using his aid to help him earn an Electrical Technical Certificate. “My hope is to fulfill the requirements for the Electrical program,” said Jarrett. “Then, in the future, continue my education towards earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.” Jarrett served in the military as an aviation technician working on Huey and Cobra helicopters. Currently, Jarrett, his wife, and young child, live in Polk County, Georgia. Jarrett is employed at Miura in Rockmart, Georgia. The international steam boiler manufacturer first opened its 100,000-square foot plant in NW Georgia in 2009.

Pledger, an Instrumentation and Controls major, has commuted to the Floyd County Campus from his Lyerly, Georgia home for the past two years. This spring term, thanks to the financial help of the Manufacturers Education Foundation Scholarship, Pledger plans to earn his Associate of Applied Science Degree. “I was in SkillsUSA at Chattooga High School and learned skills in welding, construction, and automotive,” said Pledger. “I chose my program at GNTC because it offered me an opportunity to continue utilizing hands-on skills in various areas of industry and technology.”

GNTC offers more than 200 programs offering certificate, diploma, and degree programs online and on-campus. Campuses are located in Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), Rock Spring (Walker County Campus), and Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus).

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 GNTC.edu 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 GNTC.edu, 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.

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Don Foley

Assistant Director, Marketing and PR