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 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.
Fifteen High School High Tech Students from Sims Academy toured Gwinnett Technical College. Shikura Cazeau and Lydia Holland (Gwinnett Technical College) provided the tour. The students were able to get information regarding the admissions process, financial aid, disability services, student life, and the many educational opportunities that are available at Gwinnett Tech. The students were able to see/experience automotive, construction, cosmetology, fabrication, heating and air, health sciences, vet tech, and welding. The students were very impressed with Gwinnett Technical College and the many educational opportunities that are available there.
Disability Employment Awareness Month heightens awareness while recognizing the contributions of Americans with disabilities to both our workforce and our society. Georgia RAMP sites experienced two days of learning and fun while helping our mentees gain confidence for thriving and advocating for themselves and others who are differently-abled. Mentees discussed the five senses and how the loss of one or more impacts daily living tasks. To give the mentees a glimpse of what it would be like to live without vision, they were paired with a less familiar partner, then given instructions to choose to be the leader or learner. Learners were blindfolded and told they were at the mercy of their leader. Leaders then instructed the learners to leave the comfort of the classroom to navigate stairs, brick columns, doorways, courtyard boulders and return to the classroom without accident or injury. The experiences helped students appreciate the challenges of different disabilities, realize that they are not alone, and that it’s ok to ask for help: there are people who will help. Most of all, they learned that they are more important than their abilities. Mentees vowed to focus on people first, not their abilities or disabilities.
Georgia RAMP Mentees strive to Learn, Connect, Work, and Lead missions for themselves and others regardless of abilities!
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is one of only two submarine bases under the United States Navy. Windsor Forest High School, Jenkins High School, and Islands High School went to Kings Bay naval base to the tour the Submarine Trident Training Center. The Trident Facility is used to train basic knowledge and skills required to operate and maintain Trident nuclear submarines and to provide specialized training.
Students got to see where the naval staff practice loading a torpedo, train to fix leaks, and learn in a web lab and an engine room. Students met active duty Navy students and staff and had an opportunity to learn about life in the military, rank structure, pay, and benefits, as well as the special qualifications of a Submariner – Navy Sailor. The career exploration ended with lunch in the military cafeteria where students had an opportunity to have lunch with Navy Sailors and experience a typical meal served to active duty military and their families.
Carroll County High School High Tech (HSHT) North and South Career Ready students had the opportunity to visit West Georgia Technical College Carrollton campus and Waco campus. The presentation was very informative and helped students understand opportunities available to them during high school and post secondary education. During the students time on campus they were allowed to visit many programs of study including Cosmetology, EMS, HVAC and CNA. Students were allowed to walk around classrooms and ask the instructors questions about each program area of study and certifications. Students were greeted at the college by Zelma Jones, Accessibility Services Program Coordinator, who gave a presentation explaining dual enrollment and the admissions process. Students had the opportunity to fill out applications with the application fee being waived.
Quitman County HSHT students toured Dillard’s Department Store and Albany Technical College in Albany, Georgia
Quitman County HSHT students came to Albany for a tour of Dillard’s Department Store and Albany Technical College. Our first stop was Dillard’s Department Store. We met with Mrs. Janet Woodward the assistant manager of the store. She met with us in the training room used for new employees. Mrs. Woodward talked to the students about what Dillard looks for in a potential employee and skills that are necessary in retail. She discussed dressing appropriately for the job and fitting in with the environment.
Mrs. Woodward stressed focusing on the skills they possess during the interview and to know something about the company. She stated that in retail, math skills and good communication are very important skills to possess. In regard to post-secondary education, Mrs. Woodward stated that a degree in marketing would benefit them in moving upward in the company. After the training room. We went on a tour where we observed the dock and saw where the trucks deliver goods that are then placed on the sales floor.
Students then toured Albany Technical College where we met with Regina Watts, Disability Coordinator, for a tour of the school.
The students broke into groups to tour their areas of interest. Ms. Watts took students to the Cosmetology building to tour the facilities and observe the students in action. Ms. Watts had also arranged for the ATC cosmetology students to answer questions as well as telling our students about their experiences in the program. The cosmetology program will result in certification for hair, nails and makeup. However, only one state certification is available which is for hair stylist.
A different group had a great tour of the welding facility. They spoke to the head of the department and the assistant department manager. They explained all of the equipment and showed us student work samples both small and large. They learned about the market for welders and the flexibility of Albany Tech having both day and evening classes for welding.
After both groups came back together, we met in the mock courtroom to meet with the instructors for the law enforcement program. The instructors also pointed out to the students that if they are looking for that “college” experience, ATC has a basketball team and cheering squad. They do not have dorms at the campus but they do partner with Albany State for dorms as they are available.
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.