Albany Tech retraining for rehiring

Melvin Cochran

"The world has changed a lot in the last twenty or thirty years, when people could get pretty good jobs without a high school diploma or without any post-secondary education and that is no longer the case," said Pamela Heglar of Albany Technical College.

Which is exactly why Albany Technical College and the Georgia Department of Labor created 'College That Works.'

According to a recent study, men in Georgia have been more adversely affected by the economic downturn than other groups in other areas - and Southwest Georgia has been hit especially hard.

"Here in Albany, we've had a number of plant closures," said Heglar. "Companies are downsizing. The recession has caused small businesses to close so that has put quite a number of people out of work."

'College That Works' provides resources and training in fields such as computer technology, life sciences, agribusiness, and construction through the Albany Tech's Construction Academy.

The Construction Academy offers cutting-edge classes on all aspects of project development, including design, carpentry, and plumbing.

One of the newest features of the Construction Academy is the masonry program. Students, of course, learn how to mix cement and basic bricklaying but they are also taught advanced masonry theories and professional development.

Melvin Cochran is a Construction Academy student who lost his job when Cooper Tire closed.

He saw his situation as an opportunity to pursue his dreams and encourages others to do the same.

"They need to go out there and try to do what they will enjoy doing," said Cochran. "I hope to get my cabinet shop which I've always wanted to do."