Renee Robertson

Georgia Northwestern Technical College student Renee Robertson works on an electrical box at Roper Corp. Robertson will be the first female to complete GNTC’s apprenticeship program with Roper Corp. in Walker County.

Renee Robertson, of Chatsworth, began Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Industrial Systems Technology program with one goal in mind, to earn more money.

“I was struggling to get by, working two jobs and cleaning on the side, something had to change,” Robertson said.

While she is still a few days from graduation, Robertson has already achieved a new level of financial security and was recently promoted to a maintenance technician position at Roper Corp.

“My whole life has changed because of the education I gained at GNTC,” Robertson said.

The 39-year-old mom is not a traditional Industrial Systems Technology student.

“The entire three years I have been in the program, there has only been two other women,” Robertson said. “I will be the first female to complete the apprenticeship program at GNTC with Roper.”

GNTC’s apprenticeship program with Roper Corp. began during the 2017-18 academic year.

During her time in the apprenticeship program, Robertson said she gained hands-on experience under veteran journeymen.

“There aren’t enough workers available that have the skill sets we need now. So, with the help of GNTC’s apprenticeship program we are able to add to the skilled workers we need in the workforce,” said Alan Lyles, Roper Corp. maintenance team leader. “Renee has been a great apprentice.”

GNTC’s Industrial Systems Technology program is designed for the student who wishes to prepare for a career as an Industrial Systems technician or electrician. The program provides learning opportunities that introduce, develop and reinforce academic and technical knowledge, skill and attitudes required for job acquisition, retention and advancement.

Robertson, who had previously been employed at Roper before entering the program, said she was inspired to sign up for the Industrial Systems Technology program at GNTC by watching the men who worked on all the machines at Roper.

“I was not going to be bound by gender roles,” Robertson said. “My mom did electrical and plumbing work, so I guess you could say it is in my genes.”

Robertson will join students representing GNTC’s nine-county service area in the fall commencement ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 2, to celebrate their success in completing their program of study.

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