Leadership Dalton-Whitfield 2022 class donates to GNTC
The Leadership Dalton-Whitfield (LDW) 2022 class is outfitting 12 Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Diesel Equipment Technology students with the basic tools they need to jumpstart their careers.
The Leadership 2022 class raised $2,460 towards the cost of the diesel mechanic tool kits, and a label noting that the kit was donated by the Leadership class will be included with each kit, said Phyllis Stephens, chief operating officer and Leadership Dalton-Whitfield program coordinator for the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.
“This class is leaving a legacy in the community and setting an example for future Leadership classes to support our community’s education and workforce development efforts,” Stephens said.
Ricky Long, a lieutenant with the Dalton Police Department, said Stephens asked him and Rachel Ogle, Community
Outreach manager at Hamilton Health Care System, to serve as co-leaders to guide the group in choosing a class project.
“The process started with Rachel and I speaking with the class as a group and brainstorming different community projects that we all believed needed to be addressed,” Long said. “On the trip to GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus, the ‘lightbulb’ went off about purchasing these kits for the students. It was a huge hit with everyone in the class.”
Salvador Arreguin, program director and instructor of the Diesel Equipment Technology program at GNTC, said he told the Leadership class about the Diesel Equipment Technology program’s availability, affordability and state-of-the-art equipment; representatives from another area college were impressed that students were using the same equipment in their classrooms that the visitors had seen used at SkillsUSA competitions.
Arreguin said several area transportation-related businesses support the Diesel Equipment Technology program, including Freightliner Trucks, U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc., Penske Automotive, Shaw Industries Group Inc. and Ford of Dalton, to name a few. This support has included money, tools and diesel equipment, which students take apart and rebuild in the classroom, to speed the growth of GNTC’s Diesel program and the number of diesel technicians entering the workforce.
“There is a very high demand for diesel technicians,” Arreguin said. “The big truck industry is growing.”
The class hopes the purchase will remove a financial burden and employment barrier for the graduates while supporting families and meeting a workforce need in the community, Ogle explained.
Many employers expect employees to furnish their own basic tool kits, which cost about $300, Arreguin said. The donations will be a great help to the dozen students who will complete their diesel courses this summer and will graduate with their diplomas in fall 2022.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College is grateful for the Leadership Dalton-Whitfield class for their support of our students,” said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president. “The funds donated will enable graduates in our Diesel Equipment Technology program to enter the workforce with the tools necessary to succeed. We greatly appreciate their gracious donation and are thankful for their identification of a project directly related to student success.”
The Leadership program develops informed leaders and allows participants to channel their ideas and experiences toward community resources, issues and concerns to help direct the future of Dalton and Whitfield County and to strengthen a better community, according to the Greater Dalton Chamber. All sessions incorporate volunteer opportunities and include panel discussions, speakers, special presentations and participatory experiences. The program has more than 1,305 graduates since it was established in 1986.
Topics covered throughout the 10-month program include the education system, local government, state government, judicial system, local economy, quality of life and medical services, Ogle said. The local economic development session included a tour of GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton.
“We saw first-hand that the faculty and staff is committed to helping students succeed,” she said. “We also learned about ways they support our community’s workforce such as partnering with local industries and businesses to customize training and offering incentives to help offset training costs.”
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 aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,134 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,528 students and an additional enrollment of 2,606 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
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