March 9, 2020
As part of our Student Success series, the College is highlighting a number of students who have excelled in their advanced studies and career pursuits. These students are an example of the caliber of people who come to Atlanta Technical College seeking opportunities to make a positive change in their lives and the lives of their communities.
Our students’ dedication to success exemplifies the College’s mission of providing lifelong educational opportunities and experiences through academic and innovative career preparation, service learning, and multiple program delivery modalities that lead to technical certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees and make student development and success possible in a competitive global economy.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Atlanta Technical College is proud to highlight two women who are blazing new trails as non-traditional students in the fields of construction management and avionics technology.
Student Success Story: Monique Strong
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Monique Strong developed an interest in construction and architecture from a very early age. Both her grandfathers were involved in the construction industry, and that only furthered her desire to learn more and more about the business. Ms. Strong graduated from Clark-Atlanta University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Science and Engineering, but she knew she wanted to discover a new path and to gain new skills.
Realizing she wanted to learn more about the project organization and management side of the construction trade, she looked into local programs with an affordable price and discovered Atlanta Technical College. Seeking to learn more about the Construction Management, she found immediate attention and support from Department Chair Hector Celis. After only a brief conversation about her goals and many outstanding questions, Mr. Celis encouraged her to enroll in the program, and Ms. Strong knew she found the opportunity for which she had been searching. Atlanta Technical College provided her the opportunity to learn about what she wanted, to make connections with other professionals, and to gain internship and employment opportunities, all while allowing her to maintain a full-time work schedule and progress in her field.
Ms. Strong shared: “Atlanta Technical College really showed me something different from Clark-Atlanta University. The experiences were both great, but I felt like Atlanta Tech really invests in students and takes the time to help them succeed. I see that someone gave to me, and I want to reach back and help others.”
After graduating in May 2019, Ms. Strong immediately started working for Ujamaa Construction in June and has maintained a strong relationship with her fellow ATC alumni. A member of the National Association of Black Women in Construction, Ms. Strong has received lots of support, and is proof of the possibilities for women of color in construction management industry.
Student Success Story: Yasmin Neal
Before attending Atlanta Technical College, Yasmin Neal had a career in law enforcement, along with other career opportunities. She had already received a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and an MBA in Global Management, but she desired something else. She sought a career change in a completely different industry that would have allowed her to remain competitive and compliant with industry trends in an overly saturated job market.
Ms. Neal decided to attend Atlanta Technical College (ATC) and chose the Aviation program, and from the beginning found a passion that she knew she could develop into a career. Atlanta Technical College provided services and comprehensive knowledge that she knew would help her achieve her dreams. From the beginning of the admissions process, to the rigor that was maintained throughout her time in the program, to the help needed in finding employment after graduation, Ms. Neal was supported all throughout her time as an ATC student.
“I have been in school for a while now, and I have never experienced this level of care that the school demonstrated,” said Ms. Neal. “Their desire to make sure you are trained and then employed is unmatched. Way too often students leave school without employment, especially students in traditional colleges. Granted, like many of us, I still have plenty of dreams to accomplish, but I am very glad and blessed to have accomplished this one that will definitely impact the rest of my life. As a minority woman in the aviation/technology world, I am looking forward to fully excelling in the industry. Life is very unpredictable, but I am living proof that at any time you can make a change and go after any dream you desire no matter where you are in your current life. It’s never too late.” Recently, Ms. Neal accepted an offer with a fantastic aviation company within 45 days of completing the program at ATC. She will begin her career as an Avionics Mechanic, earning well above the established livable wage.
Our accomplished faculty and staff are committed to empowering students and allowing them to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive work environment. “The current skill trades workforce shortage continues to get worse because we do not build, move, or fix things the way we use to,” said Dr. Ian Toppin, Dean of Industrial and Transportation Technologies at Atlanta Technical College. “This scenario impacts productivity, and if it is not reversed, it will ultimately impact the economy in a major way.” Atlanta Technical College is committed to continue to address this challenge head on, bridging the skills gap and connecting the citizens of our communities to the industries that need them. Ms. Strong and Ms. Neal are amazing examples of how we transform lives through power of technical education.