By: Danielle Francisco, contributing writer
The partnership between Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions, Augusta State University, Paine College, and Augusta Technical College was named as a finalist in the category of Public-Private Partnership in the first annual STEM Education Awards competition sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), an organization of over 18,000 members from companies across the state.
The ADP STEM Partnership was recognized at a ceremony on September 14, 2012, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
According to Dr. Cliff Gardiner, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, the partnership was selected by TAG for the group’s efforts to increase the number of graduates in the critical-demand areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Gardiner said the three-institution partnership was the only one of its kind in the category and he was honored that the partnership was selected for this recognition.
“It was remarkable to be in the room with over 200 people, many from schools and universities supported by such corporate heavyweights as Cisco, IBM, and Georgia Power,” and the main goal was to “raise public consciousness about the need for creative STEM educational initiatives across the state,” said Gardiner. “Many of the corporate professionals there were looking to fill critical positions within their respective companies which shows the ever increasing need for STEM graduates.”
When asked about the impact of the nomination and three-institution partnership with ADP on the university and local economy, Gardiner stated that a number of graduates from ASU, Augusta Tech, and Paine have already been placed locally and approximately 80 percent of ASU graduates express interest in remaining in Augusta upon completion of their degree program.
“The payoff is local, regional, national, and potentially international,” said Gardiner.
Since 2009, the three institutions have been supported by a generous grant from ADP, which employs over 700 people at its ADP Solutions Center in Augusta. The partnership continues to expand. At Augusta State, ADP is now a member of the Community Partners program sponsored by the James M. Hull College of Business, and the corporation recently initiated a paid internship program. ADP staff members currently serve on the Advisory Board programs in the areas of computer and business at Augusta Tech. At Paine College, ADP has provided support to the college’s Annual Scholarship Masked Ball.
Over the last three years, Gardiner says ADP has provided more than 120 scholarships across the three institutions, critical support for student tutorial centers at ASU, and highly qualified STEM graduates.
Since the program’s inception, Gardiner also says 20 ADP scholars have graduated from ASU with degrees in STEM fields. Among those students, many are continuing to graduate school at nationally prominent universities, three are in medical school at MCG and the Medical University of South Carolina, and one is in the prestigious School of Veterinary Medicine at UGA.
Furthermore, one ADP Scholar from ASU has just accepted a job teaching chemistry at an area high school. “Think of the impact she will have teaching our children,” Gardiner says. Over the next two years ASU expects to place four more specialized mathematics, physics and biology teachers into the public school system.