The $1 million donation from both Kubota Manufacturing of America (KMA) and Kubota Industrial Equipment (KIE) to the Lanier Technical College Foundation is to reinforce the college’s job placement rate for its graduates, Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College, told Global Atlanta.
It will do so, he said in a phone interview, by enhancing the equipment to which its students will have access at the new $131 million Hall County 95-acre campus being built off Ga. 365 and Howard Road north of Gainesville.
“The technical and industrial building will get the greatest benefit,” he said. “The largest share will go to state-of-the-art equipment so that our graduates will be guaranteed smooth transitions to their jobs.”
Already Lanier Technical College has been able to place 100 percent of its graduates, according to Dr. Perrin, either in jobs or continuing education courses. But with the economic growth in the area the demand keeps rising.
Phil Sutton, Kubota’s chief administration officer at KMA, said that with a 3.4 percent unemployment rate in the area, his company has to support workforce development programs in a variety of ways.
The company is doing so, he added, by supporting apprenticeship programs for high school and technical college students, backing the technical colleges and creating career paths for its employees. “Kubota has always sought to be a good community citizen,” he said.
The apprentice programs are in fields such as industrial systems technology and machine tool technology. Business partners also provide training in new fields such as wireless engineering technology, commercial truck driving and culinary arts.
The new technical and industry building will be located only about one mile away from Kubota’s largest plant in the area so the investment in the building’s equipment may ensure that the Lanier graduates are fully prepared to work with Kubota’s state of the art equipment.
The range of skilled trades to be taught in the new building will be expanded to include a motorsports curriculum, welding, diesel technology and fire science.
The technical and industrial building is to be only one of six new ones including one for all the extensive health programs, an economic development building that will house contract training, continuing education and the ammonia refrigeration program, an instructional building with space for general education, business programs, computer science and adult and early childhood education and an administrative building.
The new campus, which is expected to be able to accommodate 5,000 students, is anticipated to open in January 2019.
Kubota’s $1 million donation, which was announced at a May 16 ceremony attended by Gov. Nathan Deal and Hirohito Arai, president since January of this year of both KMA and KIE, is to be part of a $5 million campaign conducted by the college’s foundation to fund new equipment and tools for instruction.
“This year marks an important milestone as we celebrate our 30th anniversary since Kubota started business here in Georgia,” Mr. Arai said. “There were only 44 members when we started, and now we have become one of the leading Kubota factories with over 2,500 team members. Looking to the future, we acknowledge that education for younger generations is indispensable as they will play a leading role in growth business for the benefit of society.”
“Kubota’s presence in Georgia continues to be one of our state’s great business success stories,” said Mr. Deal. “This donation demonstrates the profound interest that private companies have in the development of Georgia’s classroom-to-career pipeline. Investments in the Lanier Technical College Hall County Campus will help to create even more opportunities for the ever-increasing emphasis on technical education and workforce development.”
Established in 1988, KMA is headquartered in Gainesville and manufactures zero-turn mowers, sub-compact tractors and utility vehicles. Located in Jefferson, KIE manufactures tractor implements and assembles larger Kubota tractors. KMA and KIE collectively employ more than 2,600 team members in Gainesville and Jefferson.
Lanier Technical College offers ore than 50 programs of study in fast-growing career fields including healthcare, energy, business and industry, and public or private service.