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Georgia Department of Education provides $1.1 million for Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education labs in rural schools

FastTrack grants fund equipment-ready labs for high-demand fields

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, 404-463-4246,

March 20, 2018 – The Georgia Department of Education has awarded more than $1.1 million to rural school districts to support them in equipping their Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) labs.

The funds – awarded to schools in Dougherty, McIntosh, Pierce, and Tift counties – will support the implementation of 15 CTAE labs. Each lab will provide immersive learning experiences in high-demand fields like healthcare sciences, mechatronics, distribution and logistics, film, and agriculture.

“Schools need hands-on, out-of-the-box, up-and-out-of-the-desk learning if they’re going to be prepared for the jobs of the future – and if our communities are going to have the workforce they need to thrive,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Education is an essential piece of the rural renaissance our state so desperately needs. These funds support a rapid-response education system that expands opportunities for middle and high school students, and is swiftly responsive to local industry needs. It’s our job to make that happen for every student, in every school.”

Launched this year, FastTrack grants are Construction Related Equipment (CRE) grant funds awarded at the midpoint of the fiscal year to support school districts in equipping new CTAE labs. These districts are able to open their labs six months ahead of schedule, while meeting all qualifications for CRE grant funding.

“We are using the equipment to train our students in skills to take advantage of Georgia’s high-demand STEM careers,” said Rob Collins, CEO of NEOS Technologies – a business partner to Dougherty County Schools. “This is allowing us to build our future workforce.”

Craig Matthews, CTAE Director for Tift County Schools, said it’s important for students to be knowledgeable and experienced with the equipment used in modern business and industry.

“The Fast Track funds are vital in preparing our future workforce,” Matthews said.

Carol M. Smith, a Sr. Vice President at Tift Regional Medical Center, also offered support for Tift's FastTrack grant. 

"As you know, construction-related equipment is necessary to expand skills training programs for careers in growing industries in our region," Smith wrote in a letter of support. "Obtaining this equipment will allow us to provide training for students in various career pathways offered by Tift College and Career Academy to meet the growing needs of our economy. These grants will help us remain a leader in both innovation and education." 

2018 FastTrack Grant Recipients



Dougherty County Schools: Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy

Health Science Multi-Use Lab

Health Science Multi-Use Lab

Mechatronics Lab

Distribution and Logistics Lab

Graphics Design Lab

Audio/Video Technology & Film Lab

Engineering Technology Multi-Use Lab

Flight Operations

Marketing Multi-Use Lab



McIntosh County Schools: McIntosh County Academy

Audio/Video Technology & Film Lab



Pierce County Schools: Pierce County Middle School

Middle School Agriculture Lab



Tift County Schools: Tift County High School

Health Science Multi-Use Lab

Health Science Multi-Use Lab

Agriculture Mechanics Lab

Agriculture Multi-Use Lab