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Atlanta companies hope to alleviate the shortage of high-tech workers with a new work force development and training center at Gwinnett Technical College.

Gwinnett Tech will build a $12 million work force development center on its campus in Gwinnett County in the northeast quadrant of metro Atlanta.

Construction of the George Busbee International Center for Work Force Development is expected to begin in May 2001 and be completed by the fall of 2002. It is named for a former governor of Georgia who is involved in Gwinnett Tech’s capital campaign.

The center will include a 13,300-sf conference center with a 350-seat amphitheater and a two-story, 58,000-sf advanced technology center with ground-floor flexible space that could incorporate manufacturing.

Plans for the center also include additional floors to be added later. These two buildings will be built during Phase I. Phase II is a four-story, 54,000-sf classroom building with distance-learning equipment to be built at a later date. Gwinnett Tech currently trains approximately 12,000 corporate employees each year. The new center will accommodate the training of 30,000 people annually.

Six companies, a pool of individuals, the state of Georgia and Gwinnett County are contributing the necessary funds. About $4 million is coming from the state and the county. Scientific-Atlanta, a major international developer and manufacturer of electronic communications equipment, has built new headquarters just five miles down the road from Gwinnett Tech. The company is donating $1 million to the project and will also provide technical support.

Along with other corporations, Scientific-Atlanta, with 2,500 employees in its headquarters, will reserve space in the new center for training.

An anonymous donor almost matched S-A’s $1 million; the Gwinnett Tech faculty and staff donated $90,000. Other contributors are Georgia Power, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Rock-Tenn CO., Siemens Energy and Automation Inc. and SunTrust Banks.

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