If you want to solve unemployment, you don’t create jobs, you create futures.
For the last few years, the majority of recovery efforts for Bartow’s recession woes have been anchored around temporary quick fixes. Instead of giving incentives for residents to gain technical and professional skills, we’ve proposed instant, short-term solutions that involve unskilled labor. Although very few people in the area have the guts to say it, we all know that no one makes a living off periodic roadwork programs or part-time factory jobs landed via temp agencies. Instead of disinfecting our economic wounds, we seem fairly content in just wrapping a bandage around the bleeding and looking the other way, hoping and praying that the ailment simply disappears on its own.
Simply put, there is no way anyone can succeed in the current job market without a post-high school education. Granted, a 2-year diploma may not get you through the door at Google or Apple, but it at least gives you a fighting chance in an economy where the only sure thing is that the uneducated will starve.
At this juncture, I’d say that not only is the brightest hope for the future of Bartow County, it may very well be its only hope. Not to slight the myriad of technical colleges in the area, but GHC is perhaps the only local educational venue that I would describe as a genuine launching pad for residents seeking a real career as opposed to a way of making ends meet.
If you’re seeking a career as a professional or paraprofessional, GHC is a wonderful means of starting your journey. It’s rates are affordable, it’s staffed by some of the best educators in the metro Atlanta area, and obviously, it’s local. In addition to featuring technical majors such as Nursing, GHC offers an associate’s program for a number of in-demand sectors, including Business Administration, Education and several Information Technology fields.
As far as geography goes, Georgia Highlands College has the potential to serve as the anchor of local commerce for Bartow County. The northwest Georgia area is very much under served in regards to affordable educational institutes, and I believe that GHC could draw many commuters (and perhaps transplant residents) to the area. Seeing as how the institute has grown exponentially over the last decade, it really isn’t out of the question to view GHC as a future residential campus, especially if the institute begins offering accelerated programs or perhaps even partnerships with 4-year colleges.
Cartersville absolutely needs , and the city would serve itself well by looking into expansion possibilities for the school. This would entail more than simply building more parking lots, it would involve more allocation of local funds to build on to the Cartersville campus, which has quickly become the largest campus in the entire GHC chain. Brick and mortar buildings only go so far — the campus also needs more teachers, technological aides and, most importantly, capital to begin more degree programs. Improving the school’s retention rate isn’t just a matter of business, it’s a matter of social urgency, as one less person in the county sans a degree is one less person that can bring revenue into our ailing economy.
The significance of GHC to the area is quite apparent, yet it is rarely mentioned or addressed in community affairs. Instead of viewing is a potential long-term solution to our financial hardships, we seem to view it as just another building, that blocky thing situated across the road from . Very few people in the local community seem to take it seriously as an institute, which is undoubtedly a major misstep for the entire city. Although hundreds of local businesses may offer jobs to residents of Bartow County, GHC is the only one that offers its inhabitants careers, not just a means of making money, but a means of making a future.
As higher education is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, is blessed with a local institute that offers long-term sustainability regardless of regional economic dips. Although it may seem hard to envision now, Cartersville’s livelihood may not depend on its established employers, but it’s overlooked educational provider.
You may not think of Cartersville as a “college town.” If you want the city to have a genuine future, you may want to start envisioning it that way.