Editorial: Congratulations to the Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy for its impressive award

This area received a tremendous honor recently when the Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy on Maddox Chapel Road in Dalton was named Georgia's College and Career Academy of the Year for 2021 by the Technical College System of Georgia and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

We say "area" because the academy is a collaborative effort among many entities to enhance the academic pursuits of area students, including Whitfield County Schools, Dalton State College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, nearby school systems, the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce and local and regional businesses and industries.

And the designation is particularly meaningful when we consider that our local college and career academy is one of more than 50 such academies in the state.

The academy "is at the forefront of innovation in workforce development and education and is an invaluable asset to (the) community," Duncan stated in a press release.

According to its website, the academy (then called the Whitfield County Career Academy) opened in the fall of 2005 as an LEA (local education agency) start-up charter school and "focused on helping high school students achieve success through an individualized program of study that included rigorous and relevant instruction in academic and career/technical courses, planned and structured work-based learning opportunities, and a seamless transition to post-secondary education and the workforce."

"The partnerships we've built over the years are really what makes this school tick," as well as the faculty and staff that "go above and beyond," said Brian Cooksey, the director of workforce development for Shaw Industries and chairman of the academy's board of directors.

"The entire team is focused on supporting the workforce needs of our community and providing the individualized support needed for each student to achieve their personal and career goals," Cooksey said. "Our industry and community are blessed to have a great educational partnership like (the academy) to help develop and inspire the next generation of talent."

We agree, and we commend the faculty and staff at the academy, the leadership from the county school system and the academy's board of directors, the academy's partners from both academia and industry, and the students who accept the challenges of the academy's many and varied offerings for this wonderful award.

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