James “Jim” Glass officially began his tenure as president of Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) on July 1, 2019. Previously, Glass served as provost at SRTC since the college merged with Moultrie Technical College in 2015. He began his postsecondary career as director of instruction at Albany Technical College in 1999. Glass also spent 13 years in secondary education as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in the Albany area.
SGaMag: You have been a part of SRTC as both provost and now president, what do consider to be SRTC’s greatest strengths?
Our greatest strength is our people. SRTC’s faculty and staff are experienced in their fields, hardworking, and dedicated to student success.
SGaMag: With the start of a new decade, what is your vision for SRTC’s future growth?
Business and industry in Southwest Georgia are positioned for growth, and this college’s emphasis on workforce development means that we will need to continue our own record growth to keep up with the demand for skilled workers. As industrial and medical fields become more high-tech, our courses will evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly technical world.
SGaMag: What value does SRTC bring to students, businesses/industry, and the community?
We design our programming to efficiently, effectively prepare students to join the workforce immediately upon graduation. Our students graduate without student debt, fully equipped to succeed in their new careers. Current and prospective employers appreciate access to local qualified applicants, as well as the nimble, customized training options that we offer.
In addition to the ancillary benefits of the college, many of our faculty and staff have deep roots in the communities we serve. Our people are out in our eleven county service delivery area, volunteering with local organizations, serving on boards, and helping SRTC meet the needs here at home and statewide.
TCSG institutions have a stellar reputation for being partners in economic development. How is SRTC working hand-in-hand with industries to ensure its curriculum is responsive to current and future workforce needs?
In 2019, our communities saw the opening of two major manufacturing facilities. We worked closely with both CheckMate and Taurus USA to ensure that our workforce would be prepared to fill the numerous jobs that those organizations brought to our region. In Bainbridge, for instance, we built a new state-of-the-art Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lab to meet the future and current training needs of Taurus USA. Our Tool and Die program for was specifically designed in response to CheckMate, Inc. coming to Thomasville. We are excited to watch these programs grow to meet the needs of area businesses.
We are also available to help train your current workforce. The Economic Development division of our college works closely with local business and industry partners to develop or revamp customized training programs on a one-on-one basis.
SGaMag: There is a perception that technical colleges do not provide the same educational rigor as a four-year college. How do you explain to students and parents the benefits of attending SRTC?
We are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the same accrediting body that certifies colleges and universities across the region. This accreditation ensures that our courses are taught at the same standard, no matter the institution.
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) partners with the University System of Georgia (USG), and our rigorous general education (core) courses are fully transferrable to USG institutions as well as 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. We have also forged numerous articulation agreements, allowing students to transfer entire degrees to our partner colleges and universities.
SGaMag: Throughout Georgia, there continues to be a steady growth of high school students participating in dual enrollment programs. How is SRTC working to strengthen its dual enrollment opportunities in its service region?
Dual enrollment offers high school students with an invaluable head start on their education and careers. By collaborating with 14 area high schools, we are working hard to offer the types of courses and programs that will engage young students. Our hands-on training model gives students a first-person experience with potential careers, and helps them to focus on their future goals. In 2020, we will be introducing a new Interdisciplinary Studies Associate Degree program, pending SACSCOC approval. The new program will allow students to earn a degree while concentrating on one of three areas of interest while in high school.
SGaMag: Not all students can attend classes during the traditional “day time” hours, how does SRTC offer both traditional on-campus and online courses to accommodate students who work full-time?
Many of our course offerings have been designed to be convenient for the non-traditional student. We have a history of offering accessible day courses, evening courses, and online courses. As we have extended our reach, our campus locations have expanded in response. With four main campus locations and a dozen satellite locations, students in Southwest Georgia are never a long commute from an SRTC class.
In 2020, we plan to increase our course offerings with SRTC Flex, an innovative training program for students who may already be in the workforce but who are interested in becoming certified welders. The on-campus lab portion of the course is offered every other Saturday with the lecture portion offered online. These students can work full time and earn their Welding certificate simultaneously.
SGaMag: What are some future opportunities SRTC has to expand its service outreach and strengthen the region’s workforce pipeline?
We are continually looking for ways to improve our course offerings to fill the gaps in the labor force. We hope with introduction of the SRTC Flex program, we can help meet the need for certified welders in the state. The goal is to expand the flexible course schedule to other high demand career programs. We see this as a great opportunity provide coveted skills to residents of South Georgia.