A local technical college celebrated its 40th birthday Thursday by honoring the past and looking forward to the future. Leaders with Valdosta Tech are not the only ones excited about what opportunities lie ahead.
During the 40th birthday celebration of Valdosta Technical College, administrators, community leaders and students began looking ahead to the next campus expansion, an expansion which will increase the educational and job opportunities to the entire region.
James Bridges, President of Val Tech, says, "In everything we do, we touch 10,000 different students every year, that's in adult literacy, in our continuing education, training and our credit certificate program."
Georgia's Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor was also on hand, and he says the future of the Hope Grant, which funds the tuition of every Georgian at Val-Tech, should be able to continue to provide opportunities.
Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, (D) Georgia, says, "Lotto sales are growing almost 10 percent a year, so I'm gonna continue to speak out against those who don't have the vision, who don't have an understanding of the program, who don't get it when it comes to the needs for affordable higher education."
Local business managers say they understand the need for the free higher education programs offered at Val-Tech.
"If we have high quality employees, we have satisfied customers, they really take care of our customers," says Tom Stalvey, a business owner.
And with an estimated economic impact of more than $67 million per year, local folks hope Valdosta Technical College continues to take care of south Georgia.
A new, 90,000 square foot building is in the works, which means the outlook is bright. Valdosta area business leaders credit that Val-Tech will be improving the quality of their workforce, and making the area attractive to new businesses.