The Augusta Area High School High Tech (HSHT) Program held its annual College & Career Resource Fair on November 4, 2019 at the First Baptist Church located at 3500 Walton Way Extension, Augusta, Georgia. The event was attended by 228 students and numerous school staff from 22 area high schools located in the following counties: Richmond, Columbia, Burke, Jefferson, Warren, McDuffie and Lincoln. Also participating were 32 vendors along with Vocational Rehabilitation and HSHT staff.
Several guest speakers presented information to the group. Tammy Shepherd, president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, talked about area employment and employers as well as discussing types employment opportunities with industries / companies that are big and expanding in the Augusta area. Todd Gay, Outreach and Engagement Director, at the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, talked about the Center’s role in Cyber Security and other initiatives.
After these presentations, the students visited individually with vendors who were present to give them information about future training and employment options available to them following high school graduation. Many colleges, technical schools, private schools, employers and community partners participated in the Fair and provided resources to the students.
Students from seven high schools in Muscogee County HSHT program participated in an educational campus tour to Columbus Technical College. Students were greeted by the Columbus Technical College staff and they shared information about the admissions process. The financial aid advisor gave an overview of FAFSA and financial aid options for students such as Hope, Pell Career grant and explanations of the cost per credit hour. The Disabilities Coordinator gave an overview of the disability services provided by Columbus Technical College and instructions on how to access the different accommodations that can be provided to the students.
Muscogee HSHT students were divided into smaller groups and toured the different programs that are offered at Columbus Technical College. Students were able to have hands on experience with the welding program and ask questions of the instructors as they toured the different programs.
Students from Whitfield County High School High Tech Program toured North West Technical College. The students were given an informative and educational tour of the college and the programs offered.
Students started and ended the tour with NWTC staff question and answer sessions. Topics related to services provided by NWTC were discussed. One of the main topics discussed was “Self Advocacy” when seeking accommodations and enrollment.
Students were then invited to tour the campus and observe the various technical training courses. NWTC staff took the students to following:
Educators from NWTC also covered other programs and campus locations. Students were encouraged to explore NWTC website, register and research the numerous fields of study available.
Disability coordinators met with students and addressed questions, and provided an introduction to the school enrollment procedure, trades training provided, and the qualifications to be admitted such as graduating high school.
Worth County High School HSHT students toured the Southern Regional Technical College. Students were greeted by Mrs. Dana Lewis, Assistant High School Coordinator-Recruiter. She spoke with the students first and told them about the admission process and the benefits of dual enrollment. Ms. Lewis also spoke to them about the benefit of a technical education. She pointed out that after just 2 years they would be qualified for a job in many fields and if they wanted to get an undergraduate degree, many of the 2-year programs earn an associate degree which would transfer to a four-year school. Ms. Lewis also stated that there are programs that they could finish in 6 months and earn a certificate which would allow them to enter the work force in a short length of time.
The tour began in the upstairs portion of building A. On the 2nd floor were computer labs available to students as well as a student success center where students could receive additional help in their course work. There were also instructor’s offices located on this floor. We then went to the 3rd floor where we saw the Health Sciences program facilities. Students can earn CNA certification, LPN certification or an RN diploma. The classroom is set up like a hospital ward complete with beds and patients. Students were able to observe a robotic mannequin that could be set to exhibit different symptoms for the nursing students to diagnose and treat. Students also saw the Computer Information Systems classrooms but were unable to go inside as the classes were in session. The last stop was the cosmetology program which was not in session but students were able to observe the classrooms and labs where the students actually have clients who come in and receive a variety of hair / cosmetic services just as they would receive in a salon.
Sixteen High School High Tech Students from area High Schools in Hall County (Cherokee Bluff, Chestatee, Flowery Branch, Lanier Career Academy, and North Hall) toured Akins Ford / Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Ram on Wednesday November 13. Casey Horton provided the tour. Akins has over 2,500 cars/trucks in their inventory. They sell over 300 vehicles in a month and service around 300 vehicles a day.
Ms. Horton discussed numerous employment opportunities with the students from administrative, accounting, sales positions, service technicians, automotive repair, welding, retail parts, and customer service. Brad Akins (Owner) met with the students as well. He discussed the automotive industry positions as well. More specifically, he talked about what employers look for in employees – someone that is dependable, hard-working, wants to learn, enjoys people, and has a positive attitude. The students enjoyed the tour of Akins and were very impressed with Akins size and the number of employment opportunities available there.
Students from Bulloch County (Bulloch Co HS and Portal HS) HSHT program attended tours at the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and Bulloch County Corrections Facility. At the Sheriff’s Office students learned about all the positions within the Sheriff’s Dept. Officers met the students in the court and spoke to them about their experiences from first joining the force as junior officers and how they each branched off into their chosen specialty areas. The officers shared entry level qualification, salaries, and potential for growth. The canine unit shared how they work and depend on their animals to assist them in apprehending suspects. The tour ended with an overview of the administrative and maintenance offices, with explanation of qualifications for several of the positions.
Following the Sheriff’s Office tours, students were led to the Corrections Facility. We were greeted by the Warden and several other senior staff members. Each shared their career paths, why they joined corrections, and qualifications needed as they continued to advance up the ranks in corrections. The Warden also shared what he’s looking for in new staff members. A current inmate encouraged the students to stay in school, and to make smart decisions about their futures so that they don’t find themselves in similar situations.
During both tours the students asked engaging questions that would help them determine if this would be the right career path for them to take.
The Georgia High School High Tech Program is a comprehensive community-based program providing youth with disabilities a link to academic and career-development experiences that enable them to successfully meet the workforce demands of the 21st century.