Meriwether County High School High Tech students had the opportunity to tour Buffalo Rock Company Columbus Division, which is a multi-faceted distribution center. Students were introduced to a team member from each department who gave a presentation explaining the responsibilities of the department. Team members made it interesting by having students take part in games to learn about the vending operation. Team members shared the importance of having a diverse workforce by providing their employees with tools and resources to help them be successful and learn the Team Rock Culture. Students were able to tour the facility and see the products and services that Buffalo Rock provides to its customers.
The Georgia High School High Tech is partnering with the State Farm Foundation to host teen drivers’ education training for ten Pickens County High School students. The State Farm Good Neighborhood Citizenship grant award made the Fall 2021 class possible and will be continued early in 2022 for ten new students enrolled in our Pickens County High School High Tech program.
Through the grant, students meet weekly to prepare for the written exam they must pass to obtain their learner’s permit. At the conclusion of the training, students will be transported by Pickens County School System to the Canton Department of Driver’s Services to take the written test. Mike Chambers and Gwen Allen with High School High Tech and Pam Jacobs with Pickens County School System are coordinating the training sessions with Ace Driving School and Pickens County High School.
Local State Farm representatives Parish Lowrie, Alan Horne, and Marty Callahan visited the class to meet the students and present the check. We are thrilled that our students are benefiting from our partnership with the State Farm Foundation.
Students from the Augusta area High School High Tech (HSHT) program participated in a training event at the Maxwell Theater on the Augusta University campus. Students in the HSHT program from Richmond, Columbia, Burke, Warren, and Green County High Schools participated in the training. The training event provided two trainings: Overview of Job Readiness by Professor Antre¢ Drummer, and Self-Advocacy My Voice by Eddie Slowikowski. Professor Drummer presented information to students on how to prepare and dress for an interview, answer interviews questions appropriately, how to develop a professional reputation once hires, and how to communicate correct while at work. Mr. Slowikowski spoke to students about identifying their needs and creating a model for success which included self-determination, motivation, goal setting, problem solving, and decision making. The students were provided steps on how to reach successful outcomes in their futures. There were approximately 100 students that attended the training event. They were all very engaged and enjoyed all aspects of the event.
On April 29, HSHT students from Coahulla Creek, Northwest, and Southeast High Schools in Whitfield County toured airport facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students visited the airport terminals as well as baggage claim sites while having an opportunity to view plane departure from a viewing site adjacent to the runways. Students also learned about application processes and qualifications required for various employment opportunities represented at the airport as well as information about starting pay scales and benefits available to employees.
Mr. Blake Poole, Vice President of Air Service and Economic Development, is pictured below showing students airport monitors used to track weather conditions and flight statuses throughout each day of airport operation.
Students from ten high schools in various school systems attended a virtual HSHT presentation/tour of East Georgia State College on 3/31/21. Approximately 70 individuals participated in the event. The presentation included information on all three of the East Georgia campuses located in Augusta, Swainsboro, and Statesboro. Students received information on admissions and the application process which included deadlines for submission of applications for acceptance. Students were given information about various programs to assist in meeting the financial obligations of attending post-secondary education such as financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Instruction was given on applying for financial aid. The presentation included information on Disability Services and instruction for applying for accommodations. Programs of study were shown. Dual enrollment was discussed and procedures to apply were given. The presenters talked about bookstores, dining availability, game rooms, gyms, and other areas for social interaction on the campuses. A virtual tour and photographs of the campuses were provided so students could see where different services and activities were located. They also shared video of the dorms available on the Swainsboro campus. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
On March 25, Mr. Randal Whipple, the UPS Supervisor, for the Waycross Distribution location met with
HSHT students at Ware Co High School. Students from Appling County also participated as Ware Co
High School was willing to assist HSHT in providing this opportunity to Appling County HSHT students
through a YouTube live streaming application.
Mr. Whipple shared that the best way to start a career at UPS is to apply and get hired as a temporary
employee during their high-volume holiday season. He shared that temporary employees who commit,
work hard, show up, show up on time, and work well as team members have an opportunity to be
hired/retained as full-time employees. He also shared all the various career opportunities available at
his location, position’s responsibilities, and the average pay for each position.
Mr. Whipple explained that UPS likes to promote from within. He shared that most that are hired
remain with the company until retirement because of the incredible benefits, such as pay, healthcare,
vacation time, annual bonuses, and retirement.
Students asked many questions, like where can I get an application, how can I make sure I get hired from
an interview, and what exactly does the retirement plan look like. Mr. Whipple was glad to provide
insight on all the questions. One student was extremely interested and recommended by the teacher;
Mr. Whipple spent additional time providing tips for getting hired following his formal presentation.
Students from across the state participated in a virtual HSHT Employer Presentation at the Atlanta Braves Stadium. Approximately 80 students participated in the event. The presentation was given by 3 employees at the Atlanta Braves Stadium in the departments of Facilities, Ticketing and Retail. Students learned that the Facilities department is responsible for the electrical systems, heating and air, janitorial, landscaping and numerous other aspects of the stadium. Students learned that the ticketing department is responsible for stadium ticket sales of games, concerts, etc. Students had the opportunity to see how the on-site retail stores look and operate on game day. Each employer shared information about different jobs in each department and the role employees in those positions play in making the stadium run effectively. They discussed the expectations of individuals who work in their departments. The importance of soft skills, such as communication skills and good work ethic were emphasized, and students were also encouraged to stay in school and get their diploma. Qualifications for employment were discussed, including salaries and benefits. Students had the opportunity to ask questions during this presentation.
Appling County Students participated in a job readiness presentation given by Professor Antre' Drummer. In this session, Professor Drummer covered many of aspects of job readiness and employment preparation. He spoke on how to search for employment and craft interview answers to fit the specific job application. In addition, information was presented to students on how to prepare for a job interview by knowing their strengths, abilities, and achievements. Commonly asked interview questions were reviewed along with appropriate responses. Interviewing skills such as handling an on-the-spot interview, preparing for interview questions, and researching the company in advance of the interview was discussed. The students especially enjoyed the discussion of the importance of appropriate grooming and appearance that offered examples and an extra emphasis on the value of smiling. Strategies were discussed on how to conclude and follow up with an interview. The time concluded with some time for questions and answers.
Students from Pierce County High School learned about operations and careers at Progress Rail in Patterson, Georgia. The presentation began with a video of company operations showing how the company builds and contributes to rail transportation. The company manager explained that they are the rail division of The Caterpillar Company.
Students were extremely engaged as Billy Thompson, the company manager, explained how they operate as a team. He shared information about becoming a member of the team, which he said is more like becoming a member of the family. He told students to plan for a long interview when interviewing for Progress Rail. He wants to know all about the potential new team member and their family. Mr. Thompson also shared appropriate attire for the interview. He told students tips about what would impress him as the hiring authority for Progress Rail, and the importance of not bringing their cell phone into the interview. He shared minimum qualifications and the vacant positions they are hiring for now. Mr. Thompson shared company benefits and salaries, and the importance of offering competitive wages to ensure his employees desire to remain with the company.
Mr. Thompson used his own experiences to help students understand how they can join the company in an entry level position, remain committed, and open to learning and growing to expect promotions into leadership roles.
This presentation was on Feb 24th. On March 9th, the Pierce County high school contact shared that one of the students has an upcoming interview with Progress Rail. He learned about this opportunity and how to prepare for the interview because of the HSHT Employer Presentation.
Students participated in a HSHT virtual Plant Vogtle (nuclear power plant) Employer Presentation. Mike McCracken, in Communications for the Southern Company at Plant Vogtle, stressed the importance of punctuality, adherence to work schedules, good work ethic and safety while at the workplace. Qualifications for employment at this location were discussed as well as salaries and benefits. Information was given about how a nuclear power plant works so that students could understand the nature of the industry and learn about employment opportunities. Mr. McCracken shared that most jobs do require some type of training or certification, but not necessarily a 4-year degree. He discussed employment opportunities from a position such as janitor all the way up to plant manager and stated that often individuals start at entry level as a technician and work their way to more advanced positions. He stressed that the need for electricity will not go away, so working for a power company is likely to be stable employment and is a good place for a career. Students were given the website for Georgia Power so that they could research jobs available and apply for jobs on this site once they graduate and are ready for employment.
There were approximately 85 participants who attended this presentation from multiple school systems. Following the event, feedback was received on how good the presentation had been and how much the students and school staff appreciated all the job information and details that were included in this employer presentation.
Dawson County High School High Tech students were provided with job interview tips that will help them in securing their first job! Also, guest speaker Melissa McCrary from Chattahoochee Tech shared the advantages of technical schools in terms of money, tranferring and eventual job placement. Emphasis was placed on the Disability Services at the college.
On Feb 9th, 10th and 11th, students from 15 counties participated in a virtual employer presentation provided by Proctor and Gamble.
There were five speakers who shared their company history and experiences working with Proctor and Gamble over many years, with Elizabeth Tolman leading the P & G Team, including Heidi Tennison from Human Resources (HR). Proctor and Gamble, Albany is the 2nd largest paper making site in the company which has over 170 sites nationwide. Their focus is to manufacture Bounty and Charmin paper products, and their motto is: To touch and improve lives. The HR manager shared their hiring process, and what to expect, as well as starting salaries, and what she looks for in a new hire. She shared that being team oriented, with a get up and go attitude, is key for success at P & G. She also shared that Albany Tech has a feeder Industrial Operations Program that P & G uses to recruit new hires. Mrs. Tolman shared that their cores values are: Trust, Communication, Teamwork, Passion for Winning, and Active Listening and why all these values are important for them to deliver awesome results together. We took a video tour of the four largest sections of the company to see how they make their products, from pulp to the finished boxed products, while meeting other company employees along the tour. Students were extremely engaged asking questions from “Why do you like working for P&G” to questions about industry recognized certifications. One P&G leader shared that he likes P&G because of the company diversity, opportunities to grow, and that they get free products. The HR manager was so impressed with HSHT students that she offered students the opportunity to call her directly for advice on starting a career at P&G upon graduation.
Guest Post Submitted by: Suzanne Korngold, Oconee County School District
Oconee County's special education department had 16 juniors and seniors take part in a Manufacturing Institute through High School High Tech. Manufacturing Industries like Kubota, KIA Motors, and Caterpillar employ nearly half a million Georgians. As the manufacturing industry in our state grows, the need for skilled workers grows with it.
The Manufacturing Institute is an exciting opportunity for students to gain industry-recognized certifications that can result in them being more marketable to employers!
This is a 3-day training experience for HSHT students in your county school system. The purpose of the training is to learn more about the field of manufacturing, and students will earn 3 certifications that can go on a resume and assist with obtaining employment as they transition out of high school. Activities include tours, hands-on activities, speakers, and much more!
These certification training sessions exceeded our expectations. The presenters have been highly organized, efficient, and informative when providing information and hands-on training to our students. It is my belief, as director of special education in Oconee County, that these 3 days may indeed be the most beneficial 3 days of several students' high school careers. We are beyond excited that 15 of our students from NOHS and OCHS will be walking out with an OSHA-10 certification, a Lean Six Sigma White Belt certification, and a CPR/AED certification.
On November 17, 2020, students at Coahulla Creek High School in Whitfield County received training on the topic: “Essentials of Social Media.” Participating students learned about personal responsibilities associated with the use of social media as well as about potentials pitfalls of misuse.
On November 13, 2020 students at Dawson County High received training on the topic: “Essentials of Social Media.” Participating students learned about personal responsibilities associated with the use of social media as well as about potentials pitfalls of misuse. Mrs. Elly Bridgham served as trainer for this activity.
On October 2, 2020, twelve High School High Tech students at Dawson County High School were led in their first session on financial literacy training by trainer Elly Bridgham. Topics of discussion included debit cards versus credit cards versus cash, balancing a checkbook, writing checks and detecting financial scams.
Seventy eight (78) students from Whitfield, Walker, Fannin and Murray counties participated in a College and Career Fair sponsored by the Georgia High School High Tech Program and the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia at the Dalton Convention Center in Dalton, Georgia, on March 12, 2020. This event was funded by the generous support of Operation Round Up administered by the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia.
There were 24 different businesses and post-secondary education institutions represented with over 50 employers and post-secondary staff in attendance. Employers brought “tools of the trade” so that students could have a “hands on” experience and learn about different jobs. For example, Dalton Utilities brought a mock utility pole so that students could gain a clear understanding of the tasks associated with working with a utility company. The Elite Lineman Training Institute also had a representative at the event and had a table near Dalton Utilities. Students were able to learn about the training program offered by Elite Lineman that would give them the qualifications needed to apply for a job with utility companies.
All employers and staff from post-secondary educational institutions were very engaging with students, and these students gained valuable information as they set career goals after graduating from high school.
Crisp County High School students attended a tour of the main campus at ABAC in Tifton. The students watched a video with information about the college. The information included the history of the college and degrees that can be obtained, including the prerequisites for medical school and various biology and agricultural degrees. Students learned about the cost of attendance and various scholarships and grants available to them. They were also told about tutoring that is available to them while they are students at ABAC. This tutoring is free to students and available throughout the year. The students were taken on a tour of the campus. They toured academic buildings, a chapel, medical clinic, theatre, and the college dormitories. The students had the opportunity to speak to current college students about academics and club organizations.
Taliaferro County High School HSHT students had the opportunity to tour Oconee Fall Line Technical College on March 4, 2020. They were welcomed to the college by Pamela Dunn, Director of Admissions. Mrs. Dunn gave a brief description of the tour before starting.
The students were able to visit several departments (programs) in the college: Computer, Cosmetology, Healthcare, Industrial, Mechanical, and Welding. A spokesperson was available to explain their program in each area. They were also able to visit the Test Center where someone spoke with them about all the tests the college is able to administer. The Disabilities Coordinator gave the students details on how they must access the Disabilities Office on their own when they start college. She also explained the difference in high school accommodations and college accommodations.
The Oconee Fall Line Technical College tour was exciting, detailed, and informative. The instructors were very welcoming and willing to answer every question. It is a great campus.
Students from SE Bulloch Academy had the opportunity to visit both Great Dane and Briggs & Stratton in the Statesboro area.
At Great Dane, the students were given a presentation on the history of the company. They observed the company’s ability to lead the industry and the benefits of being employed at Great Dane. The students were able to view some of the staff and machinery in action. They explained how each part of the Great Dane trailer was assembled. The students received information on the different employment opportunities in the facility.
SE Bulloch Academy students also toured Briggs & Stratton. Briggs & Stratton is a company that builds engines for both residential and commercial needs. The tour began with a presentation of the history of the company, the various positions and pay, and information about different engines. This served as a strong foundation of knowledge for the students before heading to the floor for a tour. The students were taken through many different parts of the facility, including a portion that ran 24 hours a day. Students were able to see many of the workers performing their duties. Members within the HR department also spoke with the students. They allowed the students to ask questions and took time to ask the students about their futures.
Students from Worth County toured WALB on February 19, 2020. Mr. Chris Zelman, who is the head meteorologist for WALB, conducted the tour. The tour started in the newsroom where we were able to see the staging for the daily news. The students were allowed to stand in front of the green screen and point at the weather screen. Mr. Zelman pointed out that the news reporters must wear the proper colors to ensure that they are visible while standing in front of the screen. The students also took a turn at the cameras and learned that operating the cameras is learned through on the job training. The news reporters use a script and read it off a teleprompter. The students also had an opportunity to sit in the chairs where the newscasters sit and try to read the news from the teleprompter. They learned quickly that is not as easy as it looks on the nightly news! Mr. Zelman informed us that most anchors start out as producers and go on to become news anchors. He also told us that the weather reports are done without a teleprompter but is done from a weather map.
Different opportunities for employment at the station was discussed. There are five engineers who work in the television stations and they do require an engineering degree. They ensure that all the equipment runs smoothly for the entire station. Although engineers do make a high salary, Mr. Zelman informed us that a person with the knack for sales can be the highest money earner in the station. The sales department, of course, is one of the most important departments at the station. They sell the advertising time slots which is how the station earns its money. They have a team of ten salespeople who sell time slots to businesses in the immediate area and in surrounding communities that the station serves. He stated that the biggest advertisers are car dealerships.
The students enjoyed the tour and were excited to learn that the station does summer internships and apprenticeships. Mr. Zelman told the students they could apply online for these positions.
Marion County HSHT students from Buena Vista, Georgia, had the opportunity to visit the United States Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Students were able to observe the Rangers in Action demonstration hosted by the 4th Ranger Training Battalion while on the base.
The Ranger Course is the premier leadership course in the U.S. Army and provides the most challenging, realistic training that a soldier can receive. A U.S. Army Ranger is a member of an elite force that conducts special military missions on short notice. The Ranger Regiment is the largest special operations combat group in the Army. Members of this regiment have combat and airborne training, and they also hold varied occupations in the Army.
HSHT students were met by two school liaisons officers that shared information about the army base and the Rangers. Students were able to ask questions and see tactical maneuvers and equipment that the Rangers utilize. Following the educational demonstration students were able to dine in the DFAC with soldiers and recruits.
Twenty-two students from Murray County High Schools participated in a tour of Dixie Group in Chatsworth, Georgia. Dixie Group is a large carpet manufacturer. Initially the students gathered in the conference room where a Dixie Group employee talked with students about the jobs available there and the qualifications needed for the different jobs. Some of the jobs are HR staff, truck drivers, computer technicians and factory workers. Students were taken on a tour of the facility and learned about “tufting” which is a part of the carpet making process. They were able to observe different employees setting up machines and saw employees doing quality checks and dying fabrics. After the tour, students were given the opportunity to ask questions and some of the students acquired employment applications with the intention of applying for jobs. Students were impressed by the number of different types of jobs at Dixie Group and the opportunities that may be available to them for employment at this facility.
Jenkins County HSHT students were privileged with a tour of Milliken Industries in Sylvania, Georgia, on January 15, 2020. They were met and welcomed to the plant by the employment manager, Chelsea Roberts.
Mrs. Roberts gave an awesome presentation on the history of Milliken Industries as a company in the area and worldwide. She spoke on management and the different divisions within the company. Mrs. Roberts then addressed the skills needed to be a successful employee at Milliken. She spoke on the importance of following rules, having good work ethics, and attendance. Jamie Calloway, Human Resources Manager, gave the students a short explanation of the apprenticeship program the company has and the process for getting into the program. Mrs. Roberts then took the students on a tour of the facility. It was an impressive tour; very thorough and educational.
On Wednesday December 4, 2019 Fourteen High School High Tech Students from Madison County High School toured the Caterpillar Facility in Athens, Ga.
At Caterpillar, Joni Robinson (Supervisor – Athens Customer Center) provided the tour for the students. The Caterpillar facility in Athens opened in 2013 and currently has approximately 1500 employees. Caterpillar has facilities throughout the world and the company is continuing to expand.
Ms. Robinson talked with the students about the importance of graduating from high school. She stated that their entry level positions required a High School Diploma or GED. She discussed in detail the importance of safety and teamwork at Caterpillar to the students and gave numerous examples throughout the tour. She explained the three things they look for in potential employees – positive attitude, work ethic, and teamwork. She said if you have these characteristics they can teach you the specific job requirements. During the tour the students saw the production of Caterpillar’s Skid Steer and Bulldozers. They were able to see a straight flow (assembly) line and auto-guided vehicles. The students saw numerous employment opportunities that are available at Caterpillar. Some were assembly, welding, fabrication, painting, lift truck operators, quality control, logistics-shipping, machining, warehousing, and management.
The students were very engaged and impressed with the production and assembly of the Caterpillar equipment, the overall business operation, and the Caterpillar facility.
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.