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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Katy Castanien, Griffin College and Career Academy (GRCCA) CEO; Debbie Phillips, Georgia Apartment Association Foundation, Dr. Laura Ergle, GRCCA Director; James D. Smith, Superintendent, Griffin-Spalding County School System and Georgia State Senator Steve Gooch. Photo courtesy of the Griffin-Spalding County School System.
GRCCA Wins 2019 College and Career Academy of the Year
By Guest Columnist Kimberly Willis Green, Executive Director Communications & Partnerships

GRIFFIN – The Griffin Region College and Career Academy (GRCCA) received the Lt. Governor’s College and Career Academy of the Year award from Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan during the 12th Annual Business and Education Summit on December 9, 2019 at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, GA.

The Lt. Governor's College and Career Academy of the Year award annually recognizes and honors the Georgia College and Career Academy that demonstrates the highest level of success and overall excellence. Debbie Phillips of the Georgia Department Association Foundation, also gave GRCCA a check for $3,000 as part of their award. The Griffin Region College and Career Academy (GRCCA) is a multi-district model College & Career Academy offers high school juniors and seniors from Griffin-Spalding, Butts and Pike County schools innovative career pathways that provide academic and real world experiences. The Academy partners with postsecondary institutions Southern Crescent Technical College, Gordon State College, and the University of Georgia – Griffin Campus. Known as one of the most successful multi-district models in Georgia, GRCCA also hosts a significant amount of dual enrollment as part of their programming. Out of the 13 programs/pathways they currently offer, over 75% are dual enrollment offerings and three are high school programs.

Surrounded by educators, students and business leaders, Duncan congratulated GRCCA and recognized the significant impact College and Career Academies are having throughout Georgia.

"Workforce development is a huge part of what has made Georgia the best place to live and work,” Duncan said. “College and Career Academies play a huge role in attracting new businesses to Georgia, and it is an honor to celebrate the hard work and achievements of those associated with this great program. My office looks forward to working alongside the educators and business leaders who have devoted their time, resources and expertise to put Georgia second to none in workforce development.”

"This award is the culmination of almost seven years of planning and implementation,” said Griffin-Spalding County School System Superintendent James D. Smith. “The vision for GRCCA has always been to match program offerings with workforce development needs in our region while also providing opportunities to accelerate college credits for our students. Individuals and businesses from across three counties are involved in maintaining that focus in a way that keeps the program fresh and relevant. To be recognized as ‘Georgia Career Academy of the Year’ is both a humbling and inspiring acknowledgement of the efforts of so many staff and community partners in support of our students." GRCCA CEO Katy Castanien stated, “We are so proud of our partners and stakeholders; students, staff, SCTC, GSC, UGAGriffin, business/industry, parents, and the entire community has been so supportive of this program. Education at its best is workforce development, and this recognition encourages us to continue this much needed work. GSCS is an awesome host district for the GRCCA.”

GRCCA currently offers high-demand career pathways including Welding, Precision Manufacturing and Maintenance/ Industrial Mechanical Specialist, Healthcare, Film, Criminal Justice, Automotive, Computer Programming, and Teaching as a Profession pathway. GRCCA also offer a Logistics/Supply Chain Management pathway that is a high school pathway with the opportunity to earn credentials/certificates from Georgia Tech. To address the growing need for workforce development in the aviation industry, GRCCA began an aviation pathway in flight operations last year. This year, GRCCA added an aircraft maintenance pathway to address both the pilot and the maintenance mechanic shortage in this region. GRCCA is currently renovating one of the older gymnasiums on campus into a flight operations classroom and lab, as well as an aircraft hangar for the maintenance program. A new enclosed flight simulator was just added to flight operations and three airplanes have been donated for the aircraft maintenance program. All courses are taught by industry professionals, and there are plans to add a dual enrollment option through Middle Georgia State University’s School of Aviation. GRCCA’s goal is to be the aviation industry’s workforce pipeline for this region. Next year, GRCCA plans to add a drone career pathway to the program with dual enrollment option through Southern Crescent Technical College.

Since GRCCA opened in August 2016, the graduation rate for its host school district, Griffin-Spalding County Schools, has gradually increased. The year prior to the GRCCA opening, the GSCS's graduation rate was 73% (2015-2016). The graduation rates has shown a steady increase for the following consecutive years: 2016-2017: 81.34 percent, 2017-2018: 85.4 percent, and 2018-2019: 88.6 percent. The graduation rate for students attending the GRCCA during the 2018-2019 school year was 99.29 percent. The academy also has a pathway/program completion rate of 94 percent. For more information about GRCCA, visit www.grcca.education.


About GSCS

The Griffin-Spalding County School System (GSCS) is an award-winning, AdvancED accredited district that serves 10,000 students in 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, one alternative high school and the Griffin Regional College and Career Academy. GSCS offers everything a child needs to nurture and grow academically, foster and sustain social-emotional development with educators who collaborate using innovative instruction, that engage students to succeed. For more information about GSCS, visit www.spalding.k12.ga.us, follow us on Twitter at @GriffinSpalding, Instagram at @GriffinSpaldingSchools, visit www.facebook.com/GSCSS or download the GSCS app.

Submitted 12.13.19