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GGC stresses relationship with local business

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman urged business leaders Tuesday to tell him about their future work force needs.

The college's mission is to be an access institution for the community, and the programs offered at the school prepare students to join the work force as leaders, Kaufman said.

"Education is the key to success for us as a higher society," Kaufman said. "Everyone has got to have access to higher education."

The Board of Regents approved Georgia Gwinnett College to offer seven degrees in four general areas:

n Education. Gwinnett County is home to the state's largest public school district, and the school system is also the county's largest employer. This year, the district is planning to hire 1,700 teachers.

n Heath services. There is a critical need nationwide for skilled professionals in this industry.

n Information technology. Kaufman said this is the "literacy of the 21st century."

n Business. "Gwinnett County is the home of the entrepreneur," Kaufman said.

As the college grows, business leaders should express what they need, Kaufman said. Although the school can't add any additional programs until it is accredited, Kaufman said the offerings will grow.

Mike Levengood, the vice chairman of Gwinnett Chamber Board of Directors for education and leadership, said having a college in a county with more than 155,000 students enrolled in the school system is a great benefit.

"It's important for all Gwinnett County citizens to see what a quality institution of higher education is their neighbor," he said.