Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Aug 25, 2014
Press Release

ATLANTA, GA – On Friday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez hosted a Roundtable Discussion at Georgia Power Company in Atlanta, Georgia with state and local Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) stakeholders. TAACCCT grants are competitive grants awarded to institutions of higher education to support the development, offering, and improvement of career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations.

The roundtable participants included principle stakeholders in the TAACCCT programs developed by Albany Technical College and Central Georgia Technical College, which focus on healthcare and industrial technology and foster partnerships between the school and employers in these industries.  The roundtable discussion primarily focused on veterans within the targeted population.

“Everyone at this roundtable is dedicated to preparing the men and women of America for the present and future challenges of our job force,” said Congressman Bishop. “Right in line with our mission, these grants help technical colleges better prepare adults for high-wage, high-demand employment fields locally here in Georgia, and across the United States.”

The discussion was teleconferenced to Albany Technical College and Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) and was kicked off by a virtual interactive tour of Albany Tech’s classroom where students demonstrated the steering mechanism for a manpowered vehicle they designed for the NASA Rover Challenge. Presentations were then made by Albany Tech President Dr. Anthony Parker; CGTC President Dr. Ivan Allen; Georgia Power Company Project Executive Henry Kelly; Houston Healthcare Executive Director of Human Resources Linda Watson; Phoebe Putney Health System President/CEO Joel Wernick; Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Justin Strickland; Georgia Department of Economic Development Workforce External Relations Director Jamie Jordan and Director of Programs Kristin Laarhoven; and Wounded Warrior Project Warriors to Work Director Alex Powers. The discussion was moderated by CGTC Director for Global Initiatives Rick Hutto.

“The TAACCCT Grant has afforded Albany Tech the benefit of having achievement coaches in Engineering Technology on staff, who work in conjunction with faculty to assist students in enrollment, retention, and completion,” said Dr. Anthony O. Parker, President of Albany Technical College. As part of the grant consortium, Albany Technical College has led the way in assisting individuals with prior work experience or education credits in an effort to shorten the time to completion, specifically for individuals such as military occupational specialties, industry certificates, and corporate training.

“Central Georgia Technical College is proud to be a higher education partner in the middle Georgia region,” said Deborah Burkes, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at Central Georgia Technical College. “CGTC provides opportunities for citizens to improve their skills and knowledge to better prepare them for the workforce. As a part of the College’s commitment to completion and to its communities served, we were pleased to share our pilot program results and our future goals for this initiative with Secretary Perez. We are eager about the activities that we are undertaking to improve Georgia’s workforce and the impact this program will have on our students and employers.” 

"Georgia Power welcomes Labor Secretary Perez and Congressman Bishop, as well as Georgia education and business leaders, for this important roundtable discussion,” said Scott Orr, Federal Legislative Affairs Coordinator at Georgia Power. “We are committed to developing the workforce of tomorrow through strong relationships with the state's universities and technical colleges, as well as innovative classroom programs such as Learning Power. Continued collaboration between business, government and education is absolutely critical as Georgia's economy grows and our students develop the skills necessary to succeed in careers at Georgia Power and other leading companies."

“Today’s event was a great step forward by the Congressman and certainly the Secretary in trying to be sensitive to the value of employable jobs here in Southwest Georgia and I think their efforts together continue to create opportunity where there hasn’t been opportunity in the past, “ said Joel Wernick, President/CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System.

“I am proud to tout the positive effects resulting from the collaboration between Albany Tech, CGTC, and their employer partners,” concluded Congressman Bishop. “I am pleased Secretary Perez could join us today and witness firsthand the deep commitment that federal, state, and local entities, the business community, and veteran service organizations hold for this cause.”

Born and raised in a military family outside of Buffalo, New York, Secretary Perez has a long and distinguished career in public service. He has served as assistant attorney general in Maryland, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, and a law professor. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of Labor on July 23, 2013. As part of a pre-Labor Day tour, Secretary Perez spent the day in Atlanta, where he spoke at the Loudermilk Center earlier that day.

For more information on TAACCCT grants, please click here. A picture from Friday’s roundtable is attached; to view and download the picture online, please click here.