Georgia Tech and City of Atlanta Announce Alcohol Server Training Program

Atlanta bar, restaurant and nightclub owners have a new tool to help employees sell alcohol responsibly. Georgia Tech is offering a free online training program for managers and servers of alcohol in Atlanta to help them reduce underage drinking and sales to intoxicated patrons before they get behind the wheel. The program was announced today by Georgia Tech and Atlanta City Councilmember H. Lamar Willis at a press conference at city hall.

The first of its kind in Georgia, the Responsible Alcohol Sales and Server (RASS) training program is being run by Tech's GT SMART program, a campus-community coalition dedicated to reducing high-risk drinking.

"With the recent issues facing this industry here on the Atlanta City Council, this training is timely and will serve to enhance the quality of service that establishments throughout the City of Atlanta are able to provide," said Willis. "Citizens can feel safer knowing that this industry, through participating in this training, is taking further steps towards being a responsible stakeholder in our community. I applaud Georgia Tech for leading this effort."

The free training is available online at any time to alcohol-licensed businesses in the city of Atlanta. Tech hopes to widen the program to businesses in DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties later this summer.

"The RASS program provides excellent training to help familiarize alcohol license holders and their employees with state liquor laws and to teach servers to identify falsified ID's and intoxicated persons, said Marsha Brinkley, Project Director of GT SMART. "The safety of our students and our communities is our primary concern. We think this training will help reduce the number of minors and intoxicated persons having access to alcohol."

More than 200 alcohol licensees have already expressed their intention to GT SMART to participate in the program prior to today's announcement.

Managers and owners can customize the program to reflect their particular polices, added Brinkley. "For example, if one bar decides employees need to I.D. every customer, the training can reflect that, while another bar can have the training teach employees to I.D. people who look younger than 30," she added.

The program takes an average of two hours or less to complete and can be completed in increments. Every person who passes the course has a record sent electronically to the Georgia Department of Revenue, where it is available to prospective employers. The employee can also print out a passing certificate after completing the training.

"We think that employees who have completed the training will be more attractive to prospective employers who want to practice responsible alcohol sales," said Brinkley.

Alcohol license holders in the City of Atlanta can register for the RASS server training at www.gtsmart.gatech.edu. The program is funded by a grant from Georgia's Children Youth and Coordinating Council.

About GT SMART: Founded in 1999, GT SMART is a campus-community coalition dedicated to combating high-risk drinking through environmental change. The coalition is part of A Matter of Degree (AMOD), a consortium of universities funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Medical Association. Through participation in the AMOD program, GT SMART aims to reduce the rates of high-risk drinking and its second-hand effects in an effort to improve the quality of academic and social life for all students and enhance the relationship between Georgia Tech and surrounding communities.

About H. Lamar Willis: Councilmember H. Lamar Willis, serving his first term as Post 3 At-Large representative to the Atlanta City Council, works to serve the citizens of Atlanta through the development of a host of both legislative and community outreach initiatives. He currently serves as chair of the council's Public Safety Committee and works to address basic quality of life issues affecting Atlantans. Visit www.hlamarwillis.com for more information on the councilmember's activities.

About Georgia Tech: The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's premier research universities. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report's top 10 public universities, Georgia Tech educates nearly 17,000 students every year through its Colleges of Engineering, Management, Computing, Sciences, Architecture and Liberal Arts. Tech maintains a diverse campus and is the nation's top producer of women and African American engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 80 interdisciplinary units as well as the Georgia Tech Research Institute. During the 2002-2003 academic year, Tech totaled more than $660 million in research awards and expenditures.