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Communications

Atlanta, GA — Leaders of the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a partnership giving Georgia and Irish students expanded educational opportunities. North Georgia Technical College was selected as one of two TCSG colleges that will be participating in this new summer program.

The MOU states each party’s commitment to maximize the educational and training programs offered by both institutions, while providing to students the benefits of these cross-border programs. Partnering with WIT gives Georgia students access to international science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

"Signing this MOU formalizes our longstanding relationship with Waterford Institute of Technology and establishes a broad framework to expand our collaboration,” said TCSG Commissioner Corbin. “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity for our students to train on an international level and then bring those skills to bear at companies here in Georgia."

This summer, students from North Georgia Technical College and Chattahoochee Technical College will participate in a one-of-a-kind engineering program in Ireland custom-tailored by WIT and TCSG faculty. Similarly, students from North Georgia Technical College and Columbus Technical College will attend a custom-designed culinary program. 

Second-year engineering technology student Emily Walker of Toccoa, Ga., is eager to participate and realizes this is a chance of a lifetime for her. “I’m excited to be able to experience different countries’ views and thought processes as it relates to manufacturing and business,” says Walker. “I’m so happy to have this opportunity – it will be my very first commercial flight, and I hear the scones in Ireland are to die for!”

“This classroom and hands-on learning opportunity is incredible for our students,” said Elwin Northcutt, NGTC Engineering Technology instructor. “We are thrilled that our students will experience international business relations that will really expand their personal perspective outside of the state and Northeast Georgia. We anticipate wonderful opportunities for these students in their future careers.”

Students selected to participate from NGTC must be a second-year engineering technology student and in good academic standing. The following students are planning to participate this summer and attended the MOU signing held in Atlanta with Dr. Ivester and TCSG Commissioner Corbin: Amber Olliff of Demorest, Emily Walker of Toccoa, Eldon Hinkle of Martin, Stephen Lenton of Clarkesville, Nile Waldimar of Snellville, and Brian Thomas of Epworth.

The cost for each student who participates from NGTC is approximately $5100. Students are responsible for fundraising $750-1000 per person, and together the students will be hosting individual and community fundraisers to assist with their goals.

“We are working to make potential donors aware of this unique educational experience for our students,” said NGTC Foundation Director Cynthia Brown. “A gift to the NGTC Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is tax-deductible and will be used as a scholarship for those students with documented financial need specifically for the Waterford Program. It is so exciting to see the interest in the program and to know that the investment in students changes their lives forever.”

The Waterford Institute of Technology is a university-level institution in the southeast of Ireland with over 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. It offers certificates, degrees and PhD’s in humanities, health and nursing, science and informatics, engineering, architecture, business and education. The new agreement will open additional program opportunities in tourism, hospitality management and criminal justice, adding to the already existing programs.

“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the entire Technological System of Georgia is of significant importance in further developing and expanding the existing relationships: indeed, it elevates it to an entirely new level,” said WIT President Professor Willie Donnelly. “It will create opportunities for staff mobility, joint teaching, research development and, particularly, it will allow students from TCSG to come to WIT where they can gain an internationally recognized qualification through offering them Pathways for Progression in their chosen field of study.”

Georgia and Ireland are international trade partners, with Georgia’s imports from Ireland totaling $776 million annually and Georgia’s exports totaling $145 million annually. Over 19 Georgia companies have operations in Ireland, including Equifax, Georgia-Pacific, Mohawk Industries and UPS. Irish companies located in the U.S. employ 6,680 Georgians locally.

“As Consul General of Ireland, I was delighted to attend the signing of the ground- breaking Memorandum of Understanding between the Waterford Institute of Technology and the entire Technical College System of Georgia,” said Shane Stephens, Consul General of Ireland. “Our institutes of technology have been central to Ireland’s economic success story, an essential player in producing industry-ready talent. WIT has played an important role in contributing to the successes of certain investors from the Southeast of the U.S. into the Southeast of Ireland. By advancing collaboration, this new MOU will aid both WIT and its numerous technical college partners in Georgia in their work to realize the full the potential of all their students.”

For more information about NGTC, visit northgatech.edu.

Photo Left to right (back row): Executive Director, TCSG International Center Dr. Ian Bond; NGTC Engineering Technology Instructor Elwin Northcutt, NGTC Engineering Technology students Eldon Hinkle of Martin, Ga.; Stephen Lenton of Clarkesville, Ga.; Amber Olliff of Demorest, Ga.; Nile Waldimar of Snellville, Ga.; Brian Thomas of Epworth, Ga.; Emily Walker of Toccoa, Ga.; NGTC President Dr. Mark Ivester; NGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathie Ivester; Consul General of Ireland Shane Stephens. Seated front row: TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin; WIT President William Donnelly