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GTI awarded $50,000 AT&T grant

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By Angye Morrison

Gadsden Technical Institute’s faculty and students applauded and grinned from ear to ear as AT&T executives presented a check for $50,000 to the school for technology improvements to its programs today.

Written as a 20/20 grant in 2008, the awaded funds will improve, enhance and update GTI’s existing technology for secondary and post-secondary career and technical education programs.

The grant funding will address the need for new and updated technology, which includes computer work stations, laptops, smart boards and computer software that will be used for industry certification and the introduction of online learning.

“The district has courted the notion of online learning in its technology departments for several years,” said Debra Rackley, CTE director.

Rackley said financial limitations have prevented any previous program enhancements, but the newly-awarded grand funding will create new program opportunities in the school’s business curriculum focused on distance learning. Students who wish to attend a post-secondary program while continuing to work full-time will now be able to do just that. This opportunity will be afforded to secondary and post-secondary students, and a plan to work with local colleges is underway.

“With the current condition of the economy limiting educational opportunities across the nation, to have corporate America still willing to work with schools speaks volumes to the commitment from corporations like AT&T,” said Rackley.

“We’re all about investing in people,” said Jerry Hendrix, AT&T Regulatory Relations vice president. “We are proud to have the opportunity to give back.

Marshall Criser III, president of AT&T Florida, agrees.

“Increasing the accessibility by building an advanced technology infrastructure will encourage Gadsden County students and faculty to participate in new learning initiatives,” he said.

“We’re excited about the possibilities this grant will afford,” said Reginald James, Gadsden County schools superintendent. “I look forward to seeing this project unfold.”