Georgia Northwestern Student Leading The Way For Georgia’s Next Workforce

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

One of the top representatives of Georgia’s next Workforce is a student of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Construction Management programs. The online educational offering is the only one of its kind in the state. Now, Julianna Matthews is getting training in the management side of construction from GNTC.

As the President of Georgia’s SkillsUSA Post-Secondary chapter, Matthews was invited to attend the SkillsUSA Leadership Training Institute in Washington, D.C. during the week of September 22. Matthews was one of only two collegiate SkillsUSA members nationwide to win a Robert Flint Student Leadership Development Scholarship to help pay for the trip to our nation’s capital.

Matthews is neither GNTC’s first winner of the Flint Scholarship, nor is she GNTC’s first state officer to represent Georgia on the national level. GNTC’s Brandy LeVan of Catoosa County, Georgia served as Secretary of the very same Georgia SkillsUSA Post-Secondary chapter in 2017-18.

The Leadership Training event taught Matthews everything from the congressional process involved with lawmaking to learning how to make sure the right messages are heard about technical trades and workforce issues on a local, state, and national level. This year-long journey from college to capital began with a 36-year-old woman’s desire to work in carpentry and construction; a desire born out of disaster.

It was just over a year ago when the mother of two uncovered her career path after deadly storms turned Southwest Georgia upside down. “Neighborhoods were destroyed, trees fell through roofs, and so many families lost everything,” recalls the Leesburg, Georgia resident. “Certain neighborhoods were so damaged they were unrecognizable after the storms passed. I began working with a contractor at that time. It was that work which really helped me find my passion.

Matthews would soon enroll in Albany Technical College in Albany, Georgia. She recently completed her Carpentry diploma at the Technical College System of Georgia school. However, it was this past summer when Matthews would meet GNTC Director of Construction Management Donny Holmes. “He (Holmes) was leading one of our Georgia teams at the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky,” said Matthews. “After getting to know more about him, his program, and his dedication to his students, I made the decision to pursue the online Construction Management Associate’s Degree from GNTC.”

Matthews and her daughters, Kayla, 17, and Aniyah, 13, are now all excelling in education. Kayla is an academic honors student at Lee County High School and Aniyah’s academic testing scores sit at the top of her class at Lee Middle School East Campus where she also serves in leadership roles. “I’m still researching where the best place to plant roots in Georgia would be,” said Matthews. “I’m not only looking for a dedicated company that will utilize the skill sets and passion I bring to the table, but I’m also looking for a place that the three of us can truly call home.”