Tag Archives: Drew Ferguson IV

Kia and education: a connection after all

It turns out there is a connection of the Troup County Kia plant to education, but it’s not to the K-12 schools. The Karen Kennedy GeorgiaTrend article, LaGrange/Troupe County: The Kia Effect, devotes one paragraph to K-12 schools and ten paragraphs to West Georgia Tech, the local technical college.

Here are the last three of those paragraphs:

The center “will educate a person to work in an advanced manufacturing plant,” Gilley says, just the kind of plants that are coming to Troup County over the next year or so. Using industry-standard equipment, students will be educated to meet the manufacturing community’s workforce needs.

In fact, the manufacturing community already is calling on the center. DaeLim, a supplier to Kia and Hyundai (the latter has a plant nearby in Alabama), expressed interest in students doing prototyping of plastic parts once the center, which opened June 1, is up and running.

“We’ve left a good platform on which to build. We have good faculty, good staff. I think we have good community relations,” Gilley says of his time at West Georgia. Then he looks to the future and what he’ll miss most about his job. “We offer programs that allow people to get better paying jobs. I’ll miss having the power to make decisions that change people’s lives.”

Hm, so the locals think the technical college has more to do with industry than the K-12 schools.

An article by Jeff Bishop in Times-Herald.com, Partnerships may develop between CEC, new hospitals, notes the connection between high schools and industry is through West Georgia Tech.

Hm, maybe Wiregrass Technical College could be important….


After Kia: still school problems in Troup County; no mention of unification

Let’s keep looking for evidence of any connection of school unification in Troup County, Georgia, to the Kia plant, even though CUEE didn’t present any. It’s rather odd that none of the locals seem to have mentioned any such connection in the numerous articles published about the Kia plant.

Here’s an interview with Mayor Drew Ferguson IV of West Point, Georgia by Larry Copeland in USA TODAY, 25 March 2010, Kia breathes life into old Georgia textile mill town. Nope, no mention of schools, education, or unification. Nice picture of the mayor with a Kia, though.

Karen Kennedy published a lengthy article about the Kia plant in GeorgiaTrend in August 2008, LaGrange/Troupe County: The Kia Effect, in which the first mention of schools is for the period after the Kia plant opened:

The biggest need Mayor Ferg-uson sees in West Point right now is public education. “We have a wonderful elementary school.” But there is no middle or high school in the city limits. “The current formula for education funding is not working,” he says of the state’s approach, which bases money on students who are already in the system, not on students who will be coming through the system in the near future. “If you don’t have great education opportunities people will live far away and drive [to work]. Schools should be looked at as an economic driver.” They are a way to help recruit good strong families to an area, he adds.
That’s right, after the Kia plant, there are big problems with the schools, and there’s not even any mention of unification.