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February 03, 2006
Jackson EMC Donation to Gwinnett Tech’s D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center Will Add Benefits Beyond Borders
New legislation paves way for $20K donation, adding resources to model Center
The recent donation by Jackson EMC to the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center at Gwinnett Technical College will have a far-reaching impact on the training of childhood paraprofessionals and teachers in and beyond Gwinnett county lines.
The D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center will serve as a model in the community – and surrounding communities – in a number of ways. It will be a simulated ‘lab’ for students studying early childhood education, providing them hands-on experiences in a quality center. It will also be a research site for understanding children, and will be equipped with high-tech observation facilities to assist in the learning process. Overall, the Center will provide a safe, quality learning environment for the region’s youngest citizens
“Jackson EMC is a great giver to the community,” said Gwinnett Tech’s Executive Director, Institutional Advancement, Mary Beth Byerly, who works with the Gwinnett Tech Foundation, which raised and allocated the funds for the Center. “We are thrilled to be the recipient of such a generous donation that is going to add so much to the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center and the students we train – and be the absolute icing on the cake for the children and parents that will be served by the Center.” The Foundation is led by a volunteer board of directors selected from the community that helps to raise funds from the private sector.
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation is one of the nation's largest electric cooperative, with nearly 200,000 customers in 10 Northeast Georgia counties, including Gwinnett.
The electric cooperative’s donation of $20,000 will be used to fund two major resources for the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center:
“We wanted to make an investment that would have the biggest impact possible,” said Jackson EMC Gwinnett District Manager, Roger Willis. “The D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, we believe, is going to do that. The benefits the Center will provide will transcend Gwinnett County, and will reach our service area customers in all the 10 counties we serve, and beyond. Students are going to be receiving this top-notch training, and then they’re going to go into the community or move out into different regions and put their skills to work in other areas that need them, as well.”
With the opening of the state-of-the-art D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center slated for July, the facility will be able to accommodate up to 220 children – aged six weeks to five years – and will train approximately 250 Early Childhood Care and Education students annually, said Gwinnett Tech Director of Early Childhood Care and Education, Dr. Priscilla Smith. The D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center will follow standards set by the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC).
The Center is currently accepting inquiries for potential students. “We are interested in enrolling a mixture of children. [The Center] is definitely a resource for Gwinnett Tech students, faculty and staff who want to enroll their children, but is also open to citizens outside the college,” said Byerly. And even though the Center is part of Gwinnett Tech, it will not operate on a college quarterly schedule, Byerly said, but will be open year-round.
With efforts from community volunteers, the Center will also build two separate playgrounds, one for toddlers and one for three-to-five year olds. The community-build project will use volunteers to construct the playgrounds over a five-day span in April.
Jackson EMC selected Gwinnett Tech’s D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center as the recipient for the contribution because of the company’s commitment and interest in the well-being of families and young children.
As a not-for-profit, member-owned organization, Jackson EMC annually refunds money left after expenses to its members– known as a margin refund. Each year, some of the refunds are never claimed. In the past those unclaimed funds have been returned to the state to use at the state’s discretion. But with legislation passed last year, Jackson EMC can now use those funds to improve the community, either through education, charitable donations or economic development. The $20,000 donation for the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center represents the first such use of those funds for the cooperative.
Gwinnett Tech began offering a two-year associate’s degree in early childhood care and education in 2003. The addition of the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center will further develop the college’s role as a leader in training the early childhood workforce of Gwinnett County.
For more information about enrolling a child in the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center or about participation in the community build project, call 678-226-6689.
For more information on the early education program at Gwinnett Tech, call 770-962-7580 or visit us online at www.GwinnettTech.edu.
For more information about Jackson EMC, visit www.jacksonemc.com.
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About Gwinnett Tech
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.