Its first 37-member class graduated in 1964, and some of its members will be present for this week’s graduation ceremonies, which coincide with the birthday celebration.
Chattahoochee Tech boasts eight campuses scattered across six northwest Georgia counties: Cherokee, Cobb, Bartow, Gilmer, Paulding and Pickens.
Chattahoochee Tech began life in 1961 as the Marietta/Cobb Area Vocational Technical School, serving Cobb and Paulding counties from its main campus in Marietta. It was renamed Chattahoochee Technical Institute in 1988, then became Chattahoochee Technical College in 2000.
Three previously independent units of the Technical College System of Georgia — Appalachian Technical College, Chattahoochee Technical College and North Metro Technical College in Acworth — were merged in 2009 because of their proximity, with the resulting entity taking the name of Chattahoochee Technical College.
From its beginnings with those 37 students 50 years ago, Chattahoochee Tech now has grown to an institution serving more than 17,000 students annually. Equally vital, it had a jaw-dropping good job-placement rate of 94.4 percent in fiscal 2012.
Thirty-two percent of students are under 21, but it’s also a destination of choice for those returning to the workforce or learning new skills later in life, with 13.3 percent of students ages 40 or older.
More than one third of students are enrolled in health care-related fields, but the school offers more than 70 degree programs.
“During this past year, Chattahoochee Technical College focused on its mission of workforce development as we continued to educate dislocated workers, returning veterans, incumbent workers trying to keep their competitive edge, career changers and young adults just starting their careers or experience in higher education,” said President Dr. Ron Newcomb. “At the same time, the College provided customized training solutions for a wide range of companies, large and small, and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses. We provided a new start to hundreds earning a GED or learning English and saw success in the classroom, in the workplace, and at local, state, regional, national and international competitions through academics and athletics.”
Chattahoochee Technical Institute clearly is on the move, and it’s moving in just one direction: upward. We’re confident that the story of its next 50 years will prove just as uplifting for Cherokee and northwest Georgia as its first 50 have been.