LAWRENCEVILLE - It's the college that keeps on growing.
For the ninth consecutive quarter, student enrollment at Gwinnett Technical College has increased at least 10 percent compared to the same period a year before, officials announced this week. Nearly 5,400 students started classes on March 30, marking a 15 percent increase over last year's spring quarter.
"While we've been growing at this rapid pace for over two years now, there's no question that the challenging job market makes having the right education and skills all the more important - and that can drive enrollment," Gwinnett Tech President Sharon Bartels said. "Technical colleges have so much to offer students of all ages right now - the latest training for in-demand career sectors, flexible scheduling and affordable tuition. It's an educational approach that can make a tremendous life difference, and in short order, too."
Gwinnett Tech offers more than 45 associate degree, diploma and certificate program options that can be completed in two years or less.
The growth isn't limited to Gwinnett. The Technical College System of Georgia has seen an increase in student enrollment at its 33 institutions, spokesman Mike Light said.
"We're seeing it in all age groups," Light said. "The biggest increase is in older people, age 25 and up, wanting to retool and learn a new skill simply because of what the economy has been doing."
Statewide, there was a 9 percent enrollment increase in this year's winter quarter compared to the same time last year, Light said. Early numbers indicate the technical colleges are growing by 5 to 43 percent this spring compared to a year ago.
About 145,000 students attended Georgia's technical colleges last fiscal year, which ended July 1, Light said.
At Gwinnett Tech, health care, information technology, education and criminal justice are the programs with the largest increases, while business management, marketing management and computer programming remain popular choices, according to a news release.