COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County Chamber of Commerce’s latest Lunch Link came with a special update on Wednesday. At the Chamber’s State of the Community luncheon inside the First Baptist Church of Covington’s fellowship hall, it was announced that Newton County has been selected to become an Archway Community through the University of Georgia (UGA) Archway Partnership.
Dr. Jennifer Frum, vice president of UGA’s public service and outreach, shared the news with all 92 attendees.
“Since 2005, the Archway Partnership has successfully connected Georgia communities with the knowledge and expertise of the University of Georgia to address locally identified needs and opportunities,” Frum said. “As part of this program, you are gaining access to the expertise of thousands of faculty and staff across 18 colleges and schools and eight public service units and the creativity of countless high achieving students.”
Newton County becomes one of eight Archway Partnerships in Georgia. Burke, Colquitt, Pulaski, Hart, Spalding, McDuffie and Washington counties are the other seven.
This was made possible through the work of Newton County Tomorrow (NCT) — a nonprofit collaborative.
Frum elaborated to the attendees that the partnership was “already well underway.”
Newton County achieved its silver designation for the Connected Resilient Communities program. It completed the workforce development initiative where UGA students helped NCT and the Newton County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to strengthen Connect Newton.
Connect Newton is a teacher externship program with the goal of bridging the gap between Newton County School System (NCSS) educators and the business world. The program has been around for five years.
Like UGA’s football team, the Archway Partnership is a national award winner. The partnership received the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
To close her remarks, Frum relayed her excitement to continue working with Newton County.
“You’re all now a part of our team and we are so pleased,” Frum said. “This community is already so strong. And I know that you all will be successful in navigating the road ahead and we are so happy to be with you on this journey. So, let’s roll up our sleeves to help build a stronger future together and go Dawgs.”
Announcing the relationship between Newton County and UGA’s Archway Partnership was just the beginning of Wednesday’s luncheon.
First, all attendees enjoyed a lunch catered by Jessicakes Bakery & Deli from Covington. The Lunch Link was also sponsored by AT&T with Brian Barfield representing.
Newton County’s five municipalities were represented, too:
City of Oxford: Mayor David Eady
City of Porterdale: City Manager Frank Etheridge
City of Newborn: Mayor Gregg Ellwanger sent a statement
City of Mansfield: Mayor G.W. Davis was unable to attend
Newton County Board of Commissioners’ chairman Marcello Banes spoke as well as Mike Hopkins who is the executive director Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority.
Each representative shared on the latest happenings for their respective areas and how things have been going in the last year.
Of all the Lunch Links the Chamber hosts through a calendar year, Chamber president Debbie Harper said the State of the Community is “one of our largest lunch events.” The Chamber has hosted this event the past five years, too.