The leaders of two Coastal Georgia-based higher education institutions are looking forward to the future.
College of Coastal Georgia President Greg Aloia and Coastal Pines Technical College President Glenn Deibert said the programs of the two state institutions are going strong.
College of Coastal Georgia falls under the guidance of the University System of Georgia; Coastal Pines is governed by the Technical College System of Georgia.
Their relationship benefits the Golden Isles, as well as coastal counties and their inland neighbors.
"We work well together. We support each other's initiatives and we, Dr. Aloia and I, meet on a regular basis to make sure we are on the same page, moving our communities forward as a team," Deibert said.
Aloia echoed Deibert's enthusiastic outlook on the bond between the two schools. Having worked in seven different school systems, the bridge of support connecting the two campuses is by far the most cohesive partnership he has ever seen within the higher education realm, Aloia said.
"Without a doubt, this is the finest collaboration of systems I have ever seen," Aloia said. "There are no barriers, no boundaries between us."
So much so, they said, that the technical college uses facilities on the CCGA Camden County campus to help it extend its reach as it continues to grow into its own following its creation between a merger of Altamaha Technical College and Okefenokee Technical College in July 2014.
Deibert noted the technical college is in the process of designing its own campus in Camden County, and has invested some $1.1 million into a design process that should complete a blueprint that will be presented to the community in 2016. While no construction budget has been established, a Camden campus will become a reality, though it is not clear when, Deibert said.
A third leg of their partnership is the Glynn County School System. Coastal Pines offers a campus setting adjacent to the Golden Isles Career Academy as well as courses inside the charter school, which serves Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy.
The three-part educational foundation, they said, works as a perfect feeder system to fully and completely meet the needs of students.
Starting in high school, students attending classes at Golden Isles Career Academy can earn college credit. Students are readily taking up the public school system's offer for taking dual-enrollment classes at College of Coastal Georgia.
Having early exposure to both College of Coastal Georgia and Coastal Pines through Golden Isles Career Academy and other alternative options is proving to be a success story, they said.
"This is a partnership we are very proud of, and it is one that is totally unique," Aloia said.
Aloia and Deibert said a key class at Golden Isles Career Academy is welding, a field which is benefiting from the three-part educational collaboration.
County high school students taking welding courses at Golden Isles Career Academy can move forward in their career by earning a two-year associate degree at Coastal Pines, then transfer to CCGA to obtain a four-year bachelor degrees in business or management. That perfectly sets them up for a ready career as a welder or as a manager for a welding-based business, such as at the Brunswick Gulfstream location, Deibert said.
"It's a seamless transition into a successful future," Aloia said.
The higher education system of the Golden Isles has created a perfectly pieced-together puzzle that students can easily plug into, Deibert said.
"With a system set up like this, students can earn their two- and four-year degrees without any loss of credit," Deibert added. "It is a step-by-step process without any major leaps backwards. We have built a bridge to maximize not only our own potential, but also the potential of our students.
"Let me just reiterate, from pre-kindergarten to high school through Glynn County, to secondary education at Coastal Pines and College of Coastal Georgia, this partnership is the best I have ever seen. I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of us."