December 6, 2013

Tech students graduate from accelerated program

By Christopher Smith

— The last 10 weeks of Edgar Neely’s life has for the most part been devoted to learning more about the carpet industry, he said.

That hasn’t left much time for a life.

That’s OK now, he said, because the hard work “paid off.”

Neely said he didn’t have any regrets in being one of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s first graduates of a new “fast class” program. The program, which launched in October, is an experiment organized by the Northwest Regional Commission and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to see if teachers could instruct two years worth of material in 10 weeks, college officials said.

Neely graduated with 14 other students Friday afternoon at the college. The graduates received a certificate at the end of the class.

The idea behind the program is to see how much useless classroom time can be cut to expedite learning and prepare workers for their fields quicker to meet rising job demands in a global market, college officials said.

“You learn different things that I didn’t even know were that important for the carpet industry,” Neely said. “I gained probably 2,000 percent more knowledge than I had before.”

Much of that new knowledge was from hands-on instruction focused on different aspects of the recent computerization of the textile and carpet industries, several graduates said.

Ramon Morales, who was nominated by Shaw Industries to take the class, said he also felt the cramming was worthwhile.

“I’ve learned so much,” he added.

“It’s a good program,” said Jimmy Williams, a current employee at J+J Flooring Group. “I enjoyed it and learned a lot.”

But was it too much in too small a window of time?

“It was a lot to take in 10 weeks,” Williams said. “But it was worth it.”