The Liberty College & Career Academy hosted the second day of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s business and education summit Friday. Cagle attended the first day of the summit Thursday at the college and career academy in Effingham County. He was not able to attend the summit here in Liberty County.
Cagle has said he wants every Georgia school student to have access to a college and career academy by the year 2020, according to his representatives.
Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee, school board member Carol Guyett, Savannah Technical College President Dr. Kathy Love and LCCA CEO Tom Alexander welcomed educators and corporate partners, including representatives from Georgia-Pacific, Gulfstream and the Georgia Ports Authority, to the summit’s final day.
Lee said preparing students to be college and career ready begins at the pre-K level in Liberty’s schools and continues with various programs through elementary, middle and high school grades. The superintendent also participated in panel discussions during the summit.
“The summit is a face-to-face meeting to give Liberty County administrators further insight into technical and soft skills that business looks for in students when considering them for employment,” Lee said.
Last year, 500 students completed career pathways compared to 549 students in 2013, according to school officials.
Alexander said 667 students have been served at the academy through 11 different programs. More than 100 academy students also are dual enrolled at Savannah Technical College. STC maintains a close partnership with the academy, Alexander said.
Academy dual-enrollment programs with STC include airport support, cosmetology, criminal law and justice, manufacturing, psychology, sociology and transportation logistics support.
The morning summit session included discussing the prospect of adding a career pathway to career academies around the state in response to the growth in the apartment industry.
Dr. Debbie Phillips, the executive director of the Georgia Apartment Industry Education Foundation, said 20-somethings and aging baby-boomers are “the bookends” in the growing apartment industry and represent the majority of apartment community residents.
One out of three people live in an apartment community, according to Phillips. “There are 525,000 apartment communities in Georgia,” she said. The apartment industry generates $155 billion each year, according to a video put out by GAIEF.
Mitch Harrison, president of the Atlanta Apartment Association, said home ownership has dropped from 68 to 64 percent nationally, and that translates into more people needing apartments to rent. That means jobs are being created in the apartment industry.
“It’s a multi-faceted industry,” Harrison said. “There’s nothing you couldn’t do in our industry as far as a career path.”
Careers in this housing industry include maintenance, site management, leasing and hospitality. The Atlanta Apartment Association president said he and his education partners are working with Cagle to introduce the property-management pathway to college and career academies.
“We are a viable industry and a job creator for the state,” he said.
Effingham College and Career Academy CEO Dr. Barbara Prosser and McCleod Rominger with Colonial Group/Enmark Stations and Maritime and Logistics Education Taskforce, facilitated a discussion about paid internships with major logistics and maritime businesses for students in Effingham and Chatham counties.
Logistics and maritime businesses are expected to add jobs in coastal Georgia once the Savannah Harbor expansion project is completed, summit presenters said. This, in turn, would create a need for more housing, including apartment communities, they said.