COVINGTON, Ga. - Ten students made the commitment Aug. 20 to participate in the 2019 school year of the German Apprenticeship Program, an alternative path for students who seek a career in industrial mechanics.
Through the collaboration between Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Newton County School System, Covington/Newton County Economic Development and seven local industrial partners.
"We know that our industries are in need of industrial maintenance technicians and we want to strengthen the pipeline in Newton County and Rockdale County," Dr. Irvin Clark, GPTC vice president of economic development, said. "In doing that, this program allows us to have students - the best and the brightest in your schools - come and do the training that is necessary to have them prepared to go into the workforce."
Once accepted into the program, each student is assigned a mentor from the host organization. The mentor is part supervisor and part trainer. The mentor will learn the requirements of the German-based curriculum, become a certified trainer and work with the German American Chamber to develop a work plan to ensure the apprentice can demonstrate competency to the requirements of the program and be prepared for future work opportunities at the company.
"The hands-on training that you will get ensures that you are well-prepared to hit the ground running in a career that is going to take you to the next level in your employment," Clark said. "So that's something that is exciting and you should be proud of that."
Dr. Tavarez Holston, GPTC president, said it is GPTC's goal to get students a job while having an unforgettable learning experience.
"It is making sure that you have the skills that the employers need, so you can get the work done, so that they can make money and you can make money - that's what this is about, right? You're doing this so you can make money in the end," he said. "That's what we're all about. We want to make sure that you get a W-2 that you can use at the end of the year when you file your taxes."
Lary Alford, Georgia Tech and Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training liaison, call the students "trailblazers."
"We started about four years ago launching GA CATT and its been really an effort that has extended much beyond that," he said. "We've tried to find a way to model and prepare a successful apprenticeship program and create a great career path for the students."
Serra Hall, senior project manager for Covington/Newton County Economic Development, congratulated the students.
"Congratulations on being here and being present and for actually taking a leap forward," she said. "Let me tell you what I want to commend each of you on is taking a leap in a different direction. It is a direction that, to be honest with you, I'm actually jealous that you have today because growing up here for many years, I didn't understand what was going on behind the walls of our manufacturing industries and how they impacted every single piece of our lives and every job that matters to our families, friends and mentors.
"The leap forward has really been impactful for many of us and this program is really something that really unprecedented in our country right now. It is something that Germany, and other places, take to a higher level and we believe the United States of America can do the same and it is impactful that Covington is thinking and doing this right now and no other locations are doing what you're doing today."
Students committed to partnerships in the program with the following local manufacturers:
- Alexander Spencer - BOSCH
- Rashid Outar - Verescence
- Nolan Miller - Nisshinbo
- Dustin Hewell - Verescence
- Timothy Jones - FiberVisions
- Steven Holmes - General Mills
- Stanley Odom - Haver &Boecker
- Bryson McClure - General Mills
- Dametri Norman - General Mills
- Syrr Chris Archie - Michelin