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nws-3-10-10-layeaward.jpgMarch 10, 2010 - Don Laye, Fire Science instructor at Albany Tech, has been awarded the 2010 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award by The University of Texas at Austin.

NISOD is a consortium of over 700 community colleges and universities worldwide and has a 31-year history of recognizing faculty, staff, and  administrators for outstanding contributions to teaching, leadership, and learning.

“Workforce development is the primary objective of the Technical College System of Georgia. I have introduced what we have termed: On the job training, a different approach,” said Laye.

Laye’s concept of “On the job training, a different approach” is a concept of what started out in a small classroom in Dawson, Georgia. This approach serves as a career ladder for those in fire science careers where Laye and his staff go on site and teach fire science classes. This could include required staff development, serving dual purposes of training and offering degrees and technical certificates of credit.

“Mr. Laye is exercising a type of strategy that builds upon our school’s mission,” said Shirley Armstrong, Dean of Academic Affairs for the Technology, Business and Personal Services division of Albany Tech.

Laye is not alone in his endeavors. Albany Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Ron Rowe, serves as an adjunct instructor in the Albany Tech fire science and has been instrumental in furthering the on the job training concept. Additional support has also been provided by Albany Fire Chief, James Carswell, and City Manager, Alfred Lott. “We could not have come as far as we have without the support of these individuals,” said Laye.

The City of Americus is also benefiting from this approach. Americus Fire Chief Erkhart and city managers in outlying areas are beginning to see the value of furthering their employees’ education.

“Continuing education is the key component for fire personnel in cities seeking lower Insurance
Services Organization (ISO) ratings,” said Laye. “We have helped the City of Albany increase their rating with this initiative and hope to help others.”

In addition to providing job training, many individuals are able to earn their degree in Fire Science. “Most of these individuals never dreamed of being able to do that, so it’s a win-win situation for all involved,” said Laye. “Providing continuing education, as well as a career development pathway for fire personnel, is a rewarding experience.”

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