ABAC brings rural communities to the forefront - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ABAC brings rural communities to the forefront

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's new approach that hopes to take the skills learned in ABAC's classrooms to the empty store fronts in small towns all across America. "The economy of Georgia and rural America hinges on the success and vitality of rural communities," said ABAC President David Bridges. 

This is why ABAC initiated their new Rural Studies program. "They are drying up all over this country. One of the reasons is we are not providing business and economic development opportunities to young minds to go into the rural communities.

Students who enroll into the program can choose from three different areas of concentration: Social Affairs, Culture and Business and Economic Development. All areas that take center stage for rural communities working to recruit new businesses.

"You have got to worry about the quality of life, the education, the recreation; just the full spectrum," said Dean of the School of Business, Jeff Gibbs.

Jeremy Newhouse is one of the students who will enroll into the new program next fall. "I am really interested in opening my own wood shop, and the business development track is right up my alley," said Newhouse.

And he understands the benefits his future business can bring a small community. "I am really excited about going into a small town community and trying and help them out," said Newhouse.

And it this type of recruitment professors at ABAC believe will keep small towns going. "As many rural communities have lost their manufacturing, we hear of plants closing every day. We have to look for ways to revitalize those communities," said Bridges.

"You create more jobs from existing business rather than recruiting business," said Gibbs. ABAC hopes the ribbon cutting of their new program will lead to ribbon cuttings all over Georgia's rural communities.

Seven bachelors degrees are now offered in their entirety on the ABAC Campus. The Rural Studies program will start classes on August 17th.

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