DECATUR - Federal, state and local officials were on hand as Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) held a ceremonial ribbon cutting Thursday to celebrate the opening of its new Transit Vehicle Maintenance Training facility located at the institution's transportation training center in Lithonia, Georgia.
"Our vision regarding transit is large. From the time we started our transportation program, we have produced a skilled workforce by connecting people with the new technology that is required in the transportation industry, such as electronics and fiber optics. We offer simulator training and hands-on, real-world experience," said Dr. Jabari Simama, President, Georgia Piedmont Technical College. "In our future, we see offering coursework on renewable and alternative fuels, such as fuel cells, bio-diesel and compressed natural gas; hydraulics, and electronic control diagnostics."
U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia's 4th Congressional District, noted that the training facility is the first of its kind in the state of Georgia. "The TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) grant that was used to re-purpose this facility is a great example of how federal dollars are invested in local projects to help move our economy forward. It's a common sense project," he said.
Matt Arthur, Deputy Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), stressed the importance of the facility in terms of the system's overall strategic vision. "At the Technical College System of Georgia, we're focused on being a world leader in technical education, and the opening of this facility will help get us there," he said. "Georgia Piedmont's transit training program demonstrates how the technical college system is ready to meet the workforce needs of business and industry," Arthur stated.
Keith Parker, MARTA CEO and General Manager, was on hand to affirm the partnership that has developed between Georgia Piedmont and his organization. "MARTA's ridership is up, and we've balanced our budget for the third year in a row. Our momentum is building so we need talent," Parker said. "MARTA has got hundreds of openings, from bus operators to mechanics to procurement officers to budget analysts, and with the opening of this facility, Georgia Piedmont is contributing to our pipeline of qualified, skilled workers. We're pleased to be partnering with the college during this great period of growth."