Newcomb, who served on Smyrna’s City Council for 20 years, between 1991 and 2011, now oversees the state’s largest technical college, with more than 11,000 students in six counties.
He spoke to the city’s business association Thursday, touting his graduates as some of the best employees for local businesses to hire.
“In today’s world, in a community such as this, to be competitive, you better make sure you have the trained workforce to compete,” Newcomb said. “How do any of us expand our businesses if we can’t find folks?”
Chattahoochee Tech’s numerous course offerings and degree programs, as well as its inexpensive tuition rates, helps the school constantly churn out desirable employees for local businesses, highly trained in their fields, Newcomb said.
Throughout his speech, Newcomb paused to let members of the audience stand up and testify to their experiences with Chattahoochee Tech graduates.
Marla Shavin, the public education director of Vision Rehabilitation Services, a Smyrna-based nonprofit, said she hired a Chattahoochee Tech television production technology graduate to film an annual 5K fundraiser and enjoyed the experience.
“It’s a true asset,” Shavin said.
Nikki Pearson, the branch manager at BlueStar Staffing, Inc., a staffing company in Smyrna, said she was in constant communication with students at Chattahoochee Tech for the dozens of jobs the business needed to fill.
Pearson, who visits the school for job fairs and posts jobs on the school’s online job board, has always had great results, she said.
Chief of Police for Smyrna, David Lee said he has been encouraging his officers to go back to school and take advantage of Chattahoochee Tech’s programs.
Job candidates with extra education always “got extra points” in the hiring process, Lee said.
Cindi Yeager, a criminal justice lawyer in Marietta said she works with a number of young adults in her court cases, many of whom never completed high school or attempted higher education courses. Yeager, who is running for Cobb Solicitor General, said she is constantly pushing students to enroll at Chattahoochee Tech.
Higher education of any level can help her clients “filter” back into society and become productive citizens, she said.
Joseph Malbrough, the president of the Smyrna Business Association, said it was important for all of the group’s 80 members to hire locally, and Chattahoochee Tech graduates were a great pool of candidates to hire from.
“We need that, of course, keeping them home, impacting the community,” Malbrough said.
The group of roughly 60 people met in Brawner Hall, a conference space off Atlanta Road in Smyrna. The building was used as a hospital until the late 1990s, Malbrough said, and with Newcomb’s help, the city bought and renovated the building in 1999 to be a historic gathering place.
“The park out there and this building are a great asset for the city,” Newcomb said.
Since the building’s renovations, Newcomb said he is proud of the improvements the city of Smyrna has made. He believes the city’s location will help it to continue to grow within the next ten years, especially with the addition of the Atlanta Braves to the county.
“It’s going to continue to get better and better,” Newcomb said.