ALBANY — In a concerted effort to expand collaborative efforts of K-16 institutions in Albany and Dougherty County, the presidents of Albany State University, Darton State College, Albany Technical College and the Dougherty County School System superintendent, will host the first ever Albany-Dougherty County Education Summit from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, at the Monroe High School cafeteria.

Representatives from the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and Carl Vinson Institute of Government are facilitating the event, as well as a series of community listening sessions, focus groups, and interviews. The long-term goal is to develop collaborative sustainable solutions that lead to increased high school graduation rates and a more skilled labor force in Southwest Georgia.

“The City of Albany is fortunate to have four educational institutions working in unison to leverage their strengths for the purpose of increasing economic development in the region,” said Albany State Interim President Art Dunning. “A skilled and educated workforce is attractive to corporate leaders considering where to relocate their companies; and a more diversified industrial base increases the tax base in the region.”

A listening session is the first step toward the development of a strategic local plan which focuses on education. Participants will engage in candid discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of the K-16 system which they hope will result in identifiable action steps to boost student achievement, college enrollment and graduation rates.

“This level of leadership is important and we are acutely aware of our responsibility to the community. The stakeholders are deserving of the rewards this ongoing effort is expected to yield,” said Darton State Interim President Paul Jones.

“I am positive that we will develop a process that serves our community’s need for wealth creation and economic development. I believe that the consortium will be a transforming agent in Southwest Georgia. We will be a ‘work ready’ community because of the percentage of citizens with high school diplomas or GED’s and specific qualifications demonstrated by earned degrees,” said Albany Tech President Anthony Parker.

“We began meeting last year to find common solutions to the challenges we all face,” said DCSS Superintendent Butch Mosely. “Our community’s leaders in higher education are providing opportunities for our students to succeed after high school and they are now focusing efforts on helping students stay in school through graduation. This Education Summit will involve community leadership in the work of making sure students become better educated and our system graduates more students fully prepared for college and career options.

“The future success of Albany, Dougherty County, and Southwest Georgia depends on the success of our education systems.”