WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A pathway to a stronger Central Georgia is being paved.
New Robins Air Force Base missions are in the works, and Middle Georgia State University is preparing the future foundation of its success.
Some people might see new missions as a path to progress.
"Just when we think we have things figured out, we have a new area of knowledge, and we all need to change and that's the exciting thing about education, too," Middle Georgia State University President Christopher Blake said.
Robins Air Force Base is phasing out JSTARs, the Air Force's flying surveillance unit. This means Central Georgia is now preparing for the arrival of a new mission. It'll be a new high tech command, called the Advanced Battlefield Management System (ABMS).
"As it stands right now, the Air Force has stated no jobs will be lost. That doesn't necessarily mean jobs will be added, but I would think we will like see that in the future," Chief Operations Officer of 21st Century Partnership Dan Rhoades said.
Blake says it's an exciting time.
"Yes, it's a time of new employment, but it's also a time of new learning, degrees, and a new presence, and we plan at Middle Georgia State to be very much a part of that story through our Warner Robins campus, so it's a very, very promising and encouraging moment," Blake said.
Middle Georgia State offers at least four undergraduate programs that prepare students for work at Robins --- Aviation Maintenance Technology, Aviation Science and Management, Air Traffic Management and Aircraft Structural Technology.
"When you think about the ABMS that's looking certainly at the field of aviation and how technology works, but also in the field of computer science, of information technology. It's a bringing together of different disciplines and we are ready to be doing that, so I would say as we begin to develop more computer scientists, as we continue to graduate more information technology specialists, and as we produce as the only four-year public aviation program, skilled and trained aviators, I think this university needs to be able to serve the State of Georgia; and Robins Air Force Base is a great example of that. That we want to be partners so our graduates can work at the base whether it's in aviation, logistics, or information technology, or now computer science, that we can be a part of the whole ABMS new way of thinking about mission and we stand ready to be partners in that mission," Blake said.
Blake says soon, the university will add a computer science degree.
"We're actually building a pipeline from higher education into the businesses, the organizations, and in this case Robins Air Force Base. We want people to have jobs that build careers, that build futures, and supply the economic pipeline of the future, and Robins is obviously such a component of life here in Middle Georgia. As I said earlier, the 21st Century Partnership has been helping us and others and many other organizations to connect with the opportunities, so, in this moment, the arrival of this new mission of the ABMS is a clear way, a pathway if you like, that Middle Georgia State can be an even stronger partner," Blake said.
A reliable workforce is also in progress that will protect Central Georgia's economic engine.
The ABMS building is being built now. All JSTARS planes should be gone by the end of 2024.