Chattahoochee Tech continues to offer a comprehensive array of programs and services for student career development.
By Jennifer Morrell
In 1963, Chattahoochee Technical College (Chattahoochee Tech) opened its first campus on South Cobb Drive in Marietta. Through the cooperation of many, the school is 60 years strong today and continues to flourish.
Chattahoochee Tech was known originally as Marietta-Cobb Area Vocational Technical School. Through the joint efforts of the Marietta City Board of Education and the State Board of Vocational Education, the school opened with 120 students and offered programs of study in electronics, electricity, machine drafting/design, practical nursing, radio/television repair, machine shop, cosmetology, and business education.
Each of the boards played a significant role in the development of the first school. The Marietta City Board of Education furnished the land, half the cost of the building, and necessary equipment. The State Board of Vocational Education paid teacher salaries and the other half of the building costs. The final tally for the facility was $636,000.
Developing a workforce
Since its humble beginnings, the school has grown and flourished. Chattahoochee Tech has focused consistently on offering programs of study designed to meet Georgia’s workforce needs. Classroom space was added at the Marietta Campus early on, to accommodate growing student enrollment. The college then established additional campus locations. The college’s South Cobb Campus opened in 1995, followed by the opening of the Chattahoochee Tech Paulding Campus in 1996. In 2000, the Mountain View Campus in East Cobb was added. The name of the school changed from Chattahoochee Technical “Institute” to Chattahoochee Technical “College” after the Georgia State Legislature accredited all technical institutes to technical colleges.
“For sixty years, Chattahoochee Tech has been helping students gain the skills and experience they need to become ready for the next step in their professional careers,” says Dr. Ron Newcomb, president, Chattahoochee Technical College. “The college awards associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in programs of study linked to the state’s fastest growing, high-demand career fields. We are very proud of the fact that our graduates are meeting the demand from local employers for highly skilled employees to fill well-paying jobs available in our community.”
Newcomb says the school’s mission is to strengthen both individuals and businesses through workforce training, welcoming all students and ensuring they have the resources and support needed to be successful. The programs offered at Chattahoochee Tech give students the skills and experience they need to prepare for the next step in their professional or academic careers.
“Students move easily between local high schools, Chattahoochee Tech, and four-year colleges, thanks to the many partnerships and relationships we have built throughout the region and state,” Newcomb says. “The college also offers customized workforce training, continuing education classes, and adult education programs that include free GED preparation.”
Milestone moments of growth
Newcomb says one of the most significant milestones in the 60-year history of Chattahoochee Tech happened in 2009, when the school merged with Appalachian Technical College in Pickens County and North Metro Technical College in Bartow County. Appalachian Technical College was established in 1967 as Pickens Area Vocational Technical School in Jasper, while North Metro Technical College was established in 1989 as North Metro Technical Institute. Representatives from the Board of Directors of the three colleges adopted Chattahoochee Technical College as the name for the single college.
As a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Chattahoochee Tech is now the largest technical college in the state. In addition to the Chattahoochee Tech campuses in Bartow, Cobb, Paulding and Pickens counties, there are two campuses in Cherokee County. One Cherokee County campus is in the heart of downtown Woodstock, and the other is in Canton.
The Canton Campus opened in January 2011 at the Bluffs at Technology Park. This 62,500-square-foot facility is located on 25 acres within The Bluffs, a 700-acre, mixed-used development. The Woodstock campus sits on the site of the former Woodstock Elementary School. The property was leased from the Cherokee County Board of Education in 2004, then deeded in 2013 to the state for use by Chattahoochee Tech. Built in the 1930s, the Chattahoochee Tech Woodstock Campus underwent an extensive, $5.3-million renovation in 2013, reopening for the fall semester in 2015.
In 2020, Chattahoochee Tech celebrated the opening of its newly constructed, 71,716-square-foot Health Sciences building at the Marietta Campus. Then in 2022, a 20,001-square-foot Center for Advanced Manufacturing was opened at the college’s North Metro Campus. Chattahoochee Tech also celebrated the opening of the Superior Plumbing Veterans Education Career Transition Resource (VECTR) Center at the Marietta Campus that same year. This facility, which is one of the state’s two VECTR Centers, serves as a gateway for veterans and their families who are transitioning into post-secondary educational institutions and into the civilian workforce.
An additional Chattahoochee Tech campus is currently under construction in Paulding County for the college’s Aviation Training Academy. Specific programs of study planned for this 55,000-square-foot facility include aviation maintenance technician-powerplant and aircraft structural technology. Airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics are trained to repair, service, and maintain parts of an aircraft that include the engine, landing gear, brakes, and air-conditioning systems.
A difference maker
Currently, 302 Cobb residents are employed as faculty or staff by Chattahoochee Technical College. With an enrollment of more than 8,000 students in recent fall and spring semesters, Cobb County residents consistently accounted for the largest percentage of the school’s graduates. In the spring of 2023, 213 of the college’s graduates were residents of Cobb County.
The saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” rings true at Chattahoochee Technical College. Newcomb says the school is dedicated to helping students find a way to pay for college, offering a variety of financial aid programs that include grants and scholarships that are non-repayable.
“We are very grateful to our community partners for their generosity in helping so many of our students fund the educational training they need in order to launch successful careers and build productive lives,” he says. “Chattahoochee Tech does not participate in any Federal Stafford/Direct Loan programs or the Federal PLUS program, but we are committed to educating students and families throughout their financial aid process.”
Newcomb adds that all prospective and current students are welcome to visit any of the Chattahoochee Tech financial aid offices located on all campuses. He and the entire staff at Chattahoochee Tech are proud to provide students with a high-quality college education at a fraction of the cost of other colleges and universities.
Creating the right fit
Newcomb says Chattahoochee Tech has a successful track record of partnering with the local workforce to develop and build programs of study. The college works to assure programs reflect those most common skill gaps known to local high school systems, labor departments, workforce job boards, and the community.
“Every program at Chattahoochee Tech also has an advisory board made up of industry partners and employers of our students,” he adds. “This keeps our curriculum up-to-date, strengthening what we teach in those fields. It also gives us great feedback about how we design, use, and equip our facilities.”
To help connect graduates with the right employer, the Chattahoochee Tech Office of Career Development offers a comprehensive array of programs and services that support and facilitate career development for all students. The school assists enrolled students and alumni in implementing career goals by creating opportunities to connect with potential employers. Chattahoochee Tech also cultivates and maintains partnerships with local employers. Local workforce development partnerships serve as an additional catalyst in connecting the college’s graduates with gainful employment in their career fields within the Cobb community.
“Our students are becoming well prepared for careers in the medical profession, with 100 percent of recent graduates in five of the college’s health science programs routinely achieving first-time pass rates on their national licensure and certification exams,” Newcomb says. “The Chattahoochee Tech programs of study in which all of our graduates earned this achievement include medical laboratory technology, paramedicine, physical therapist assistant, radiography, and surgical technology.”
The Associate Degree Nursing program at Chattahoochee Tech also has been ranked consistently as one of Georgia’s top programs for nursing by NursingProcess.org. Data factoring into this ranking includes pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. After the successful completion of this exam, program graduates are granted state licensure to practice nursing as an RN.
Chattahoochee Tech has been designated consistently as one of the nation’s top military friendly schools by Victory Media, a national leader in connecting the military community to educational and career opportunities. Areas of assessment for determining this ranking include military student support and retention; financial aid and assistance; culture and commitment; and graduation and career success. One in 12 students at Chattahoochee Tech is either a veteran or the family member of veterans.
60 years and beyond
A celebration of the college’s 60th anniversary culminated with a festive, public celebration at the Marietta Campus in mid-September. Throughout the year, Chattahoochee Tech is partnering with local Chambers of Commerce to commemorate the college’s 60th anniversary at Chamber events throughout the community in Cobb’s six-county service area.
“The future is bright for Chattahoochee Tech,” Newcomb says. “We have a strong history of preparing students with the workforce skills and experience they need to achieve successful careers, and we will continue to build on that success. Chattahoochee Tech also remains committed to meeting the needs of local business and industry in a changing environment and providing opportunities for lifelong learning for all members of the community.”
The History of Chattahoochee Tech
Construction begins on the first building for The Chattahoochee Technical Institute in Marietta.
The school’s first facility opens with 120 students.
Chattahoochee Tech begins its expansion with the Austell Campus located in South Cobb on Veterans Memorial Parkway.
The college adds its Paulding Campus located in Dallas on Nathan Dean Blvd. This campus features the college’s Associate of Science in Nursing program.
The Chattahoochee Tech Mountain View Campus opens in East Cobb off Shallowford Road. Popular programs of study based at this campus include Film and Video Production Technology, along with Design and Media Production Technology.
Appalachian Technical College and North Metro Technical College merge with Chattahoochee Tech, further expanding the college’s reach.
The Chattahoochee Tech Canton Campus opened in January 2011 at the Bluffs at Technology Park. Featured programs include Occupational Therapy Assistant and Air Conditioning Technology.
The Woodstock Campus opens on the former site of an elementary school, following an extensive renovation. In addition to general core classes such as English and Math, students can take classes in the popular Interiors and Cybersecurity programs.
Health Sciences Building at the Marietta Campus opens.
Center for Advanced Manufacturing opens at the North Metro Campus.
VECTR Center at the Marietta Campus opens.