Dr. Parker gives ATC 'State of College' address

Dr. Anthony Parker, the president of Albany Technical College. / Allen Carter

The president of Albany Tech delivered the state of the college address Wednesday morning.

Dr. Anthony Parker says the school out-performing many in the technical college system, but there are still some areas to improve.

"I'm proud of the fact that we have more graduates than any other technical college in the state," said Dr. Parker.

Dr. Parker says he has a lot to be proud of. The schools 73 percent retention rate and 64 percent graduation rate both beat expectations and averages for the entire technical college system.

"That's what it's about not just enrolling students, but keeping them in school helping them in school. Helping them remove the barriers that cause them to drop out so that they can persist and stay till graduation," said Dr. Parker.

But for the pats on the back there are some areas that Dr. Parker wants a renewed focus on for the school particularly adult education and GED programs.

"In our seven counties there are about 22-to-26 thousand people who are adults who don't have their high school diploma or GED," said Dr. Parker.

The average age for a student at Albany tech is 26-years-old, but officials want to bring that number down. They say if they can get students starting college units even before they leave high school, it will keep more people from dropping out.

"The faster you get the technical skills in my opinion the better off you are. If you look at our economy and our poverty rate, giving our young people a head start to a degree, diploma or certificate has got to be a great thing for them," said Dr. Parker.

It's a message that's also carrying over to students once they get to school.

"Most folks feel like when they drop out of high school. It's over with, but the GED program is an option and a choice to let you know that you can make it," said Grady O'Neal.

"He more people we can get in school the more people we can make successful the more people we can get to come in and get a better education," said Jeanette Jackson.