Valdosta - Good things are happening at Valdosta Technical College.
"We've grown 142 percent in the last ten years," says James Bridges, Valdosta Tech President.
Students at Valdosta Tech will begin fall classes tomorrow, with the largest enrollment ever in the college's 40-year history. At this time last year, about 2500 students were enrolled, but that number has already been succeeded by 200 students.
People all over Georgia are noticing the extreme growth, including Governor Roy Barnes who paid the college a special congratulatory visit.
"What you are doing here is providing our students with a great education so they can go out into the workforce and our entire state will prosper," said Barnes.
Valdosta Tech officials credit the growth to a rapidly changing world of technology.
"Now everything is more complex in the working world and many of the jobs out there are related to two years or less of post secondary training," said Mary Ann Hagler, Vice President.
Another reason for the college's growth is the Hope Grant. Unlike the Hope Scholarship that is only available to students maintaining a B average, the Hope Grant pays tuition, fees and $100 in books for any Georgia resident wishing to attend technical college.
"All you have to do to come to a technical college is be a Georgia resident and have a willing attitude," said Bridges. "There is no grade or income stipulation, and that has greatly helped enrollment increase."
And the college's job placement rates are some of the state's highest.
"We normally run a placement rate of about 96 percent, but this year we had 98 percent, which is really good in a tough economy," said Hagler.
Proving that Valdosta Technical College is raising the standards of education, leading to more jobs and a better economy for the state of Georgia.