SRTC Receives $200,000 Community Investment Grant | Education

TIFTON – Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED) and Rural Development Partners (RDP) have jointly funded a $200,000 investment in technical and industrial education in South Georgia through the Community Investment Program of RDP. The collaborative grant was awarded to the Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) Foundation, which will use the funds to support SRTC’s technical and industrial programs and students in the Tifton area.

“We are very grateful for this generous investment in our College and, more importantly, in our students,” said SRTC President Jim Glass. “This donation will directly benefit the students of today and tomorrow, who in turn will strengthen the Tifton area workforce. We are grateful for the extraordinary partnerships with world-class organizations such as Coca-Cola UNITED and Rural Development Partners, and look forward to a fruitful relationship throughout the duration of this grant and beyond.

Fifty thousand dollars of the grant has been earmarked to establish a new SRTC Foundation scholarship that will benefit technical and industrial students living in Colquitt, Tift, Turner or Worth counties. The $500 scholarship will help the College recruit new students and assist students enrolled in their chosen degree program. Awards can help cover tuition, books, fees, and required education-related expenses such as uniforms, tools, and health exams. The donation will make scholarships available each fall, spring, and summer semester, funds permitting.

The remainder of the grant funds will benefit SRTC-Tifton’s technical and industry programs, including the popular commercial truck driver program. Commercial truck driver program president Kerrie Wilson said the grant will allow her program to invest in new and improved equipment that will better prepare her students for their careers.

“This grant will allow the program to purchase a newer commercial truck with certain industry-standard safety mitigation systems,” Wilson said. “Systems such as automatic braking and blind spot detection are features our graduates will encounter when they go to work in industry.”

Coca-Cola UNITED, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the second-largest privately-owned Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, with more than 60 locations around the South East. The independent, family-owned company will open its new, state-of-the-art, $60 million sales and distribution center in the spring of 2021 in Tifton.

As a distribution center, the location will be an employer of commercial truck drivers. The company’s March 6 job fair was exclusively for recruiting CDL drivers, an indication of the centre’s demand for professional drivers. Local connections, personalized customer service and strong community involvement have been the foundations of Coca-Cola UNITED for more than a century.

“We are excited about our significant investment in Tifton and the impact it will have on our new community in South Georgia,” said Hafiz Chandiwala, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Coca-Cola UNITED. “This project is another example of Coca-Cola UNITED’s community investment and development foundation, and will greatly benefit our associates, local residents and our company for many years to come.”

Rural Development Partners (RDP), a community development entity with a nationwide service area, uses New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to encourage businesses to expand into rural communities by difficulty, by providing quality jobs accessible to the local workforce. RDP’s Community Investment Program recognizes that supporting workforce development efforts becomes a natural win-win for local workers and the business that creates the new jobs. During the NMTC closing process, RDP identifies and meets with local leaders who understand where and how to apply workforce development dollars for the greatest impact. RDP asks the company, in this case Coca-Cola UNITED, to jointly fund the grant with RDP and to participate in the grant planning process. The overarching goal is to help uplift low-income workers and communities, which also benefits local businesses and more effectively achieves RDP’s mission.

“Rural Development Partners was proud to allocate a portion of its New Markets Tax Credit towards Coca-Cola UNITED’s expansion into Tifton at the end of 2020,” said Jonathan Klaassen, Managing Director of Rural Development Partner. . “We are now thrilled to announce this jointly funded grant, which aims to help the local workforce embrace these great new jobs. SRTC’s excellent programs and intimate knowledge of the community are key to putting those dollars to work for the greater benefit of the Tifton area workforce.

The SRTC Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to encourage, receive, and administer financial donations that benefit the College or College activities. The Foundation’s priority is to provide support that enhances student learning.

“We are committed to helping students achieve their highest potential and career goals,” said SRTC President Jim Glass. “Whether students are seeking college credit while in high school, graduating from a high-demand program, advancing in their current job, or gaining the skills needed for a whole new career field, we’re ready to meet the needs of our students and the community we serve.

To apply for this and other scholarships, please visit www.southernregional.edu/foundation. The summer semester begins on May 13.

Jill E. Washington