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Georgia Piedmont Technical College declared strong; breaking boundaries
0228PIEDMONT staffins

Georgia Piedmont Technical College has added a police academy and film production programs to its Newton campus. The programs provide students a new path for career training.

The college broke another barrier Thursday with its state of the college address in Newton County.

During the address, in which the state of the college was declared “strong,” Georgia Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Jabari Simama, spoke of building community without boundaries where all can thrive.

“I believe we have the moral obligation to erase every boundary and knock down every wall and lift up more and more of our citizens into this beloved community without boundaries were we all can thrive,” Simama said. “This is our goal. This is our calling. This is our reason for being and at Georgia piedmont we work tirelessly to make sure opportunity is real for our students.

“By living a life without boundaries, without fear we transform our community into an oasis where possibility really flourishes where life is free and opportunity is abundant. This is our vision for DeKalb Rockdale Newton and Morgan counties. This is our vision for Georgia Piedmont Technical College.”

That experience helped form the basis on how he operates Georgia piedmont Technical College.

The theme of his address to instructors and community leaders gathered at the Newton Campus’s conference center is also a prevalent part of the how the college has been operating.

Simama spoke of the diverse student base of the college: students with an average age of 31 and students who represent more than 80 nationalities and speak more than 100 native languages.

“Because our college erects no barriers and reflects the communities we serve, anyone walking down the halls of any campus — whether here, whether DeKalb, whether South DeKalb or in any other educational center in our service —encounter[s] a global community of students pursuing college credentials in the latest STEM technology fields, obtaining a GED or continuing their education because they know that in this economy, learning is something we must expose ourselves to for the entirety of our lives,” Simama said.

“That is called lifelong learning,” he said.

That lifelong learning extends into 8100 Bobby Williams Parkway in Covington. There students attend Georgia Piedmont Technical College to earn their GEDs, earn technical certifications and attend a police academy.

This year Georgia Piedmont Technical College hosted its inaugural community police training seminar. Fifty-nine officers from 11 different police and sheriff departments throughout metro Atlanta attended the week-long training. The training offered classes in effective communication and social diversity in building positive community relationships between community and police.

“Based on feedback we’ve received from this forum, it was an absolute success,” Simama said. “Over 90 percent of the participants rated the training as good or excellent.”

Due to the success, Simama said the college plans to develop a center of excellence in community policing in Newton County.

“Through this center we will do more than just train and certify the next generation of police officer we will be able, I believe, to change the paradigm and improve the relationship between the men and women in blue and the community they courageously protect and selflessly serve,” he said.

Simama has been president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College since 2012, and helped the college expand its training courses, and reach into career academies in several counties it serves. He brought with him 20 years’ experience in higher education and even more experience in working with government.