Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Gwinnett Tech student May Ying Lo measures the amount of protein in a sample during a bioscience class this past week at the new Life Science building on the Lawrenceville campus.
Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Students work in a microbiology lab at the Life Science building at Gwinnett Technical College.
Staff Photo: Jason Braverman The Life Science building at Gwinnett Tech was built to meet "green" standards with many energy saving things in mind, such as natural light in the lobby area.
Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Gwinnett Technical College nursing students April Allen, left, and Dionne Crenshaw check the head and neck during a physical exam of a dummy.
Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Gwinnett Tech students Lashauna Stewart, left, and Tameka Sharp test different types of disinfectants of bacteria during a microbiology lab earlier this week in the Life Science building on the Lawrenceville campus.
Gwinnett Technical College President Sharon Bartels said Wednesday's dedication ceremony for the new Life Sciences Center on the local campus marked a milestone, not just for the college, but for the community and the economy.
"It's our primary job to fill over 27,000 new jobs in the metro Atlanta area over the next four years," Bartels said. With the construction of the new facility, which was completed just months ago, the college will be able to serve more than 3,000 students a year studying in the life science and health care education fields.
The health care industry is projected to generate 3.2 million new jobs from now through 2018, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Bartels said that two-year colleges play a major role in getting graduates trained for the health care sector. With construction of the new facility, the college will have more than 140,000 square feet of total learning space for students to gain experience in their career training.
"If you've ever had to dial 911, you've seen one of our graduates," Bartels said. "If you've ever been cared for by a nurse, more than likely it was one of our nurses."
For every doctor in the community, there are eight technicians needed, she said. With new and expanding programs in the life science and health care fields, the new three-story Life Sciences Center gives the technical college a "way to create careers for thousands of young people."
More than 41 percent of Gwinnett Tech students are now enrolled in a life science program. Current job placement for graduates exceeds 98 percent.
The Life Sciences Center, which includes cutting edge classrooms and labs, will allow the college to expand its nine existing science and allied health programs as well as introduce new programs.
The building's first floor is filled for the most part with large and small classrooms. The second and third floors of the Life Sciences Center aim to provide students the hands-on training they'll need to get started in their careers.
What current and former students are saying about the Life Sciences Center:
"I think it's awesome. You walk into the building, and you're almost overwhelmed by everything inside. It's big, and as you go deeper, you see all these labs and career technologies that you probably won't find anywhere else in the area."
-Jesse Green, current radiologic technology student,
"It's amazing. It's beautiful. This is a technical school, so there's an expectation of cutting-edge technology. The labs here meet that expectation, and they are fantastic. I think it's absolutely great for the community."
-Darcie Johnson, Gwinnett Tech graduate