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Posted: December 4, 2009 12:30 a.m.

NCSS and DeKalb Tech get $3M grant

The Newton County School System and DeKalb Technical College have been awarded $3 million in state grant funds from the Technical College System of Georgia for the school district’s proposed Newton College and Career Academy.

"We are extremely excited about the possibilities for support of the learning of our students, which this grant provides for high school career/technical education," said Dr. Steve Whatley, Newton County School Superintendent "The cooperation of the collegiate, business, governmental and private entities working together to make this a reality is a positive step taken for the educational and economic development for this community. My thanks are extended to Mr. James Woodard, Newton County School System Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, and Dr. Kathy Garber, NCSS Grants Coordinator, for their extensive work on the grant."

The funds provided to the NCSS will be matched with local funding commitments which will go toward the career academy, an initiative spearheaded by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle in 2007.

"Today we are one step closer to providing access to a Career Academy to every student in Georgia," said Cagle in a press release. "During these tough economic times, it is now more important than ever before to give our students the promise of a path to a successful career. I look forward to the success that will come from the Newton College and Career Academy as more students are prepared for a 21st century workforce."

Throughout the grant application process, representatives from DeKalb Technical College, the Newton County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Covington, the Newton County Board of Commissioners, the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, and The Center Facilitating Community Preservation and Planning have fully supported the proposed academy and worked together with school district administrators to outline their commitment to work together to achieve the mission of the Newton College and Career Academy, which is, "to enhance academic achievement and provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce."

"Today’s decision paves the way for a phenomenal educational opportunity in Newton County. It will allow students to actually graduate from high school with a college level Associates Degree from DeKalb Technical College," said Dr. Robin Hoffman, president of DeKalb Technical College.

The success of our application was due directly to the collaborative efforts of our community," said James Woodard, CTAE Director. "Governmental agencies, community, and business/industry provided the impetus for us to make an application, but more importantly the support of the community greatly strengthened the Career Academy application." Woodard added, "Great opportunities will abound for students in Newton County as a result of this grant. Students will have the chance to connect more directly with their career paths and earn industry credentials in addition to their high school diploma. This will increase the chance for our students to be gainfully employed in a very competitive work environment. We will focus programs at the career academy in areas that are high skill, high wage and high demand occupations."

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