SGTC employees proud to support SGTC Foundation TechForce Drive

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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Staff Reports

South Georgia Technical College faculty, staff, and administrators have supported the South Georgia Technical College Foundation’s annual TechForce fundraisers for the past 24 years.  And this year is no different as they rally behind the college’s 75 years of success.

   “Celebrating Success @ South Georgia Tech for 75 Years” is the theme of the SGTC Foundation’s 2023 TechForce fund drive which will provide scholarships for deserving and financially disadvantaged students, purchase textbooks to be provided at no cost for students to use each semester, secure up-to-date equipment for the Diesel Technology programs, and expand and update the James S. Peters gymnasium to provide multi-purpose classrooms and updated technology for students and the community.  The goal for the 2023 fund drive is $250,000.

    Local individuals, business and industry, community leaders, faculty and staff, and alumnae support the internal and the external portions of the SGTC Foundation annual fund drive.  John Argo, a member of the SGTC Foundation Board, is the SGTC Foundation’s External Drive Chairman.  The Foundation contacts over 1,500 individuals and businesses and industries asking for their support as part of the external drive.

   The Internal Employee Silent Auction and Luncheon is a day of “Fun” and fundraising for the SGTC employees.  Many local businesses and individuals donate items to be placed in the Employee Silent Auction and employees bid on those items with all the proceeds going to benefit students and ultimately providing our area with a trained workforce.

   Teresa McCook, SGTC Criminal Justice Instructor on the Americus campus, is the chairperson of the SGTC Foundation’s 2023 Internal TechForce Drive.  She has served as co-chairperson or chairperson of this event for the past three years and she is excited to support the SGTC Foundation’s efforts again this year.  She has been involved with the foundation efforts since she joined the faculty and staff at SGTC in 2007.

    She started out as a part-time instructor and quickly earned her way on as a full-time employee for the Criminal Justice program in 2008.  Prior to being an educator, McCook earned field experience as a Corporal, D.A.R.E. Office/School resource Officer for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.  She later became the Director of the D.A.R.E. program and was a Deputy for the Sumter County Sheriff’s office.  She also served as a communications equipment officer for the Georgia State Patrol, Probation Officer II for the Georgia Department of Corrections, and an investigator for the Office of Investigative Services at the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

    She has served as the SGTC Instructor of Year, SkillsUSA Advisor, TechForce Committee Chairperson, and is currently on the SGTC SACSCOC Reaffirmation committee.  Students are near and dear to her heart.

    “I love that we do this!” said McCook.  “I feel our main goal is to serve our students, without them we aren’t needed.  This annual fund drive gives back to them so that they can remain our students.  The way that we do the Techforce Drive and the Employee Silent Auction is a way that we, the faculty and staff, can give a small amount each pay period or as a one-time donation, or bid on an item, and all the money that it raises, stays right here locally to help one of our students complete their mission to graduate and enter the workforce.”

   McCook added that the “silent auction is always fun for me.  I get to do a little shopping and I get a prize for me.  In return, with the money raised, the students get the best ‘prize.’”  The prize that McCook mentions is the skills needed to enter the workforce.  South Georgia Technical College has a 99% job placement rate for its graduates and many of those are employed in local communities around South Georgia Technical College.

    “The money raised may help students pay tuition, purchase supplies or workbooks, that aren’t provided, and ultimately, we are helping them walk across that stage with the skills needed to enter the workforce,” explained McCook.  “Many of our ‘seasoned’ students have realized the value of an education.  They may already be employed and have a family.  They are giving up their time to come back to school and sometimes they just need a little help to achieve that end goal.

   “I have had several students that were referred to the Foundation Office to apply for one of the grants to help them with their tuition.  It was needed and they were so appreciative to be able to get the help that they needed to remain in college.  Without that extra help, many would have given up,” explained McCook.

   All of the funds raised as part of the internal and external SGTC 2023 Foundation Techforce drive is matched dollar for dollar by various state and federal grants and the Technical College System of Georgia funds.

   McCook and the other members of the SGTC Internal TechForce Committee expressed their appreciation to the community and business and industry leaders who support South Georgia Technical College and its students.  SGTC has one of the highest retention, graduation, and job placement rates in the state compared to its enrollment numbers and that is due in part to the support SGTC receives from its surrounding communities.

    “The South Georgia Technical College Foundation is a vital part of our college’s success,” explained South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “We appreciate the support that we receive from the community through the foundation fund drives.  This support has made a tremendous impact in the lives of our students and that in turn has helped impact each of the communities we serve.”

    The TechForce 2023 Internal Committee includes:  Chairperson Teresa McCook and team members Pat Peacock, Leah Cannady, Josh Curtin, Tami Blount, David Cox, Jeff Sheppard, Chester Taylor, Michelle McGowan, Jennifer Robinson, Lillie Ann Winn, Dorothea McKenzie, Melissa Grantham, Lisa Jordan, Tammy Hamilton, Katrice Martin, Jason Wisham, Matthew Burks, and Michele Seay.

   For more information about the TechForce 2023 fund drive or to donate to the Foundation, contact South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director and SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird at 229.931.2110 or  Donations can be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA 31709.