B U S I N E S S + C U LT U R E 45 understands the importance of education and having a trained workforce to support the needs of businesses and industries. “When you think about opportunities, it can be difficult for students in rural areas to receive the same opportunities as students in larger metro areas like Atlanta,” said Anderson, who is from Ellaville a small community of fewer than 2,000 people located near Americus. “This is why what we are doing here at Wiregrass Tech is so important. We are building partnerships and sharing resources so that our students have the same advantages as those in larger cities.” Anderson arrived at Wiregrass Tech in 2013 and immediately began knocking on the doors of local industries. “I wanted to hear from our industry leaders,” said Anderson, who served as president of Moultrie Technical College for ten years. “What I heard was they were in desperate need of more technical workers, especially welders, which is still an area that is at a deficit.” Leveraging Wiregrass Tech’s resources with the needs of businesses and industries is one of Anderson’s most significant missions. “One of the worst things I could hear from a business owner is that we are not teaching the skills their employees need to be successful,” she said. “If we are not offering the right classes then if at all possible, we need to start that program.” Providing an Early Start Anderson is extremely proud of the advancements Wiregrass Tech has made in the state’s dual enrollment program, which allows students in 9th to 12th grade to earn college credits, a certificate, diploma, or associate degree while working toward satisfying requirements for a high school diploma. “Dual enrollment is about more than hours,” Anderson said. “We consider our dual enrollment program as providing added-value to a student’s education.” Wiregrass Tech provides dual enrollment courses at 21 public and private high schools in its service region, including classes offered on all four Wiregrass Tech campuses, at participating high schools, and online. Achieving Success Regarded as a leader in Georgia’s dual enrollment program, Wiregrass Tech had the second highest enrollment for fall 2017. Also, Wiregrass Tech is the first college in Georgia to earn accreditation by the Accreditation Commission of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). The NACEP accreditation process reviewed Wiregrass Tech’s dual enrollment program to ensure that courses taught by credentialed high school teachers are as rigorous as the ones offered on one of Wiregrass Tech’s campuses. “Our faculty and staff worked very hard to earn NACEP accreditation,” Anderson said. “When you offer a dual enrollment program it is important that you maintain the highest standards. Accreditation is that outside voice that validates that what we are doing meets or exceeds the highest standards.” Anderson said the accreditation is not a requirement, but an achievement that assures students that Wiregrass Tech is providing instruction and training that meets rigorous national standards and program quality. In addition to NACEP accreditation, Wiregrass Tech is nationally accredited and recognized for meeting and exceeding industry