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GGC president says education is key to success

DULUTH - A more educated work force makes a more successful work force.

And because a successful work force is important to the vitality of Gwinnett County, it's important for leaders to not only encourage their children to pursue postsecondary education but to ask everyone to advocate higher education, Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman said Wednesday at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's general membership meeting.

College graduates are qualified for six times as many jobs as those with a high school diploma, Kaufman said.

"Education is the key to success," he said.

An abundance of opportunities exist in Gwinnett County for those who'd like to stay close to home, Kaufman said. Gwinnett Technical College offers dozens of degrees, diplomas and certificates, and the state's newest four-year college will offer four degrees this August to its incoming freshman class.

For those who want to pursue a master's degree, the University of Georgia offers classes on Georgia Gwinnett's campus in Lawrenceville. And for those interested in pursuing a medical degree, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has a campus in Suwanee.

Georgia Gwinnett's presence will also enhance the economy, as 100 faculty members will be moving here and buying homes, Kaufman said.

"These are families for whom education is important," he said. "Make them feel welcome, and talk about what's important here in Gwinnett County."

About 4,000 people have applied for teaching positions at the college, and more than 1,500 are well-qualified candidates, Kaufman said. He joked that he was the most favorite college president in the nation because he's hiring so many employees - but also the least favorite because so many tenured professors at other universities are applying for jobs.

Kaufman also explained what the college is doing to pursue accreditation. College officials submitted an application for candidacy for accreditation to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools earlier this year, but no timeline can be given for when the regional accreditation agency will make a ruling on that application.

Georgia Gwinnett cannot offer programs in education or nursing until it is accredited. But to apply for candidacy, the school must have students, and the college cannot become accredited until after some students graduate, Kaufman said.

The school does accept the HOPE scholarship, and freshman applications are being accepted.

"If you graduated high school with a 2.0 (grade-point average), and we have room for you, you're in," Kaufman said.