“I asked Dr. McDaniel to consider this position because he’s highly respected throughout our system for his knowledge of technical education and is well-known in the business community for his understanding of workforce development,” said Ron Jackson, commissioner of the TCSG. “He will help us build more global partnerships for our colleges and open doors worldwide that can benefit our system, students and state.”
Jackson said the appointment would become effective April 1. He named Pete McDonald, vice president of economic development at GNTC, acting president of the college until a new president is chosen. Details of a selection process for the next president will be announced at a later date.
“What I will be doing is working with the college presidents in putting together the infrastructure for us to (become involved in international projects) from the system level,” McDaniel said.
The International Center for Technical Education provides program development for collaborations between TCSG colleges and higher education systems in other countries.
Recently, the TCSG entered into an $8.2 million contract with King Faisal University to help create a new community college and expand workforce training in Saudi Arabia.
“Everybody that comes out of that program will go to work, hopefully, for Saudi Aramco,” McDaniel said.
Because the technical colleges are now accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, anything the TCSG does in a foreign country will have to follow the same guidelines required of a U.S. college, McDaniel said.
“My job is the operations side, to make sure that the technical colleges are consistent in how we approach this,” McDaniel said. “The commissioner wants to bring this together as a state system so that we’re all on the same page.”
The TCSG International Center will also explore other training and exchange partnerships with governments and colleges in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and India.
McDaniel became president of the college in 1998, when it was known as Coosa Valley Technical College. In 2009, he guided the effort that created Georgia Northwestern Technical College from the merging of Coosa Valley Technical College and Northwestern Technical College.
“What really sets this school apart is the relationship we have with businesses and industry,” McDaniel said. “We sit down, and we find a way to respond. We have kept our industrial programs while other colleges have gotten out of the business. We have responded to the health care community in ways that other colleges have not.”
McDaniel’s prior experience includes serving as the vice president of planning and development at North Metro Technical College (now Chattahoochee Technical College) in Acworth from 1997 to 1998. He spent 15 years at Coosa Valley Tech, where he held several leadership positions, including vice president of economic development, vice president of instructional services, vice president of student services and vice president of administrative services.
McDonald has served as vice president for economic development at GNTC since 1995. He is responsible for all non-credit programs offered by the college.
“We will continue to be focused on workforce development. It is our sole mission,” McDonald said. “Our biggest challenge, as with all public education today, will be maintaining standards and success with the budget changes we will face next year and into the future.”
McDonald said the one- and two-year degree programs at GNTC are well-suited to deal with the struggling economy.
“Young people coming out of high school need some skills that they do not have in order to get that first job,” McDonald said. “They can achieve that through us fairly quickly.”
McDonald, who serves on the Rome-Floyd Development Authority and is former chairman of the Floyd County Board of Elections and Registration, said he would be interested in serving as full-time president.