September 19, 2017
By Debra Davis
Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at the opening of the Geneva County Regional Career Technical Center today.
GENEVA, Ala., Sept. 19 — Geneva County students have a new path to high-tech, high-wage and high-demand jobs, thanks to a career technical center in the south Alabama county.
Tuesday marked the official opening of the Geneva County Regional Career Technical Center in the Geneva National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue. The Guard, with help from a $5 million bond issue, renovated the building for improvements it needed and, at the same time, helped accommodate the new career tech program.
Gov. Kay Ivey said the partnership should be an example throughout the state of how government, education and industry can work together. She joined students, local politicians and school officials for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We have a lot of challenges facing Alabama,” Ivey said. “But a good paying job for our men and women goes a long way toward solving a lot of them.”
Developing a skilled workforce is key to bringing quality jobs to the state, she added.
“I want our people to be well qualified for a good job with a good salary so they can support themselves and their families in the communities where they live,” Ivey said.
The governor praised State. Rep. Donnie Chesteen of Geneva, whom she and others at the ceremony described as key to the new center, known as GTech.
Chesteen, a former educator, told students at the ceremony those who worked on the project had their interests in mind.
“Everyone here today is committed to giving our students in Geneva County the same opportunity to succeed in life as the students in Huntsville, Mobile or wherever you are in the state,” Chesteen said.
Courses at the center include education and training, healthcare services, poultry production, industrial maintenance, automotive technology and services, aviation and welding. The state’s two-year college system is a partner in many programs, allowing high school students to receive course credit through Alabama’s dual-enrollment program.
Maj. Gen. Sheryl E. Gordon, adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, was at the ceremony. A retired educator and former vice principal, Gordon said she is proud to be a part of an organization working with communities to help build citizens for tomorrow by providing opportunities for students to continue their education.
“This is a model of what can be done, when you think outside the box and break down those barriers and pledge to work together to help our students be better citizens,” Gordon said.
About 100 students are in programs at the new facility, including students from Geneva County and Geneva city schools.
Career and technical training programs are a priority for the Alabama Farmers Federation, which believes such programs help drive rural economies by providing jobs. The Federation works with legislators and state officials to ensure adequate funding for those programs.