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LEAPing onto the red carpet

A program that started in Atlanta three years ago is paying dividends for Newton County Citizens today.

LEAP students celebrate a graduation in March at Newton College & Career Academy.

The Newton County LEAP – Logistics, Education, And Pathways – program has trained and is training citizens for careers in the growing field of supply chain management. 

The program consists of four online courses in which students can learn supply chain management principals, warehousing opportunities, transportation opportunities and customer service operations. The courses are self-paced, allowing students to complete them on their own schedule.

Logistics World defines logistics as a “business planning framework for the management of material, service, information and capital flows,” or simply, “Having the right thing in the right place at the right time.”

The program is a partnership involving Newton County, Georgia Tech, the City of Covington, Newton County, Newton County Economic Development, The Newton County School System, and the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

The first 100 citizens to participate in the program started during 2017. According to the Chamber of Commerce, 90 of the first 100 completed at least one course. Several completed all four. The program was initially designed to help high school students, entry-level job seekers, people changing careers and veterans. A high school diploma is not required for enrollment in the program, making it an excellent opportunity for people, especially older citizens looking to start a career.

Lifelong Covington resident Clarence English Sr. has completed classes in the program. He is an unabashed supporter.

English Sr., who has worked in the supply chain for 30 years, said the courses were beneficial for him.

Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes snaps a photo with Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot.

“I’m a buyer by trade, but I picked up on new things to improve my skills,” he said,” This will open a lot of doors.”

Another perk for people who complete classes in the program is the opportunity to go to Georgia Tech for a job fair. English attended a job fair and said it was a bonus.

“It was a great job fair. There were several companies interviewing on the spot, looking for people to hire,” he said.

“You not only get an education, you can get a job.” 

Clarence English Jr. has also completed classes in the program. He said he has received leads on jobs through his participation. He said he has worked in the supply chain previously and the classes will help him continue his career.

“I was in my area of expertise and it’s where I want to continue my career,” he said.

In addition to the job fair at Georgia Tech, students who have completed courses in the program receive a Georgia Tech Professional Education course completion certificate and continuing education units. They also have a permanent Georgia Tech Professional Education transcript.

The first 100 students who completed the program had their tuition waived through a grant from JP Morgan Chase and Schneider. Earlier this year, the Newton County Board of Commissioners and the Covington City Council approved funding for another group of citizens to complete the program. 

English Sr. believes in the program.

“I was born and raised in Newton County,” he said, “This is something that is very good in our community. Knowledge builds power. Programs like this help build character.

“You feel good about yourself when you accomplish something.”