Students from Elbert County High School toured the SE Toyota Distributors site in Commerce, Georgia. A presentation was given on the work that is performed at this site. Information was also given to the students on the job opportunities at this site as well as benefits and opportunities for advancement. Minimum requirements for obtaining employment here was discussed. A tour of the site allowed the students to see all the different stations and how the vehicles are prepared for distribution to Toyota dealers. Students were able to observe associates working at these tasks and the automation that is used in this industry. This tour was very beneficial for these students and several students expressed an interest in working at this site after graduation from high school.
Tri-Cities HSHT Arden’s Gardens Tour
Students from Tri-Cities High School in Fulton County participated in a tour of Arden’s Gardens - a cold-pressed juice company dedicated to providing the highest quality and nutrient-dense product to their customers. It is Atlanta’s premier fresh fruit juice manufacturer and has 16 stores in the Atlanta area. It also distributes to many grocery stores throughout the United States such as Kroger, Publix, Walmart, Whole Foods, etc. These students recently participated in the Manufacturing Institute at their school where they learned the safety standards adhered to by Arden’s Gardens.
On the tour, the students observed the process of cleaning the fruits and vegetables utilized, the process of squeezing them to produce the juice, and the pasteurization process. Besides the safety standards of OSHA and Lean Six Sigma, Arden’s Gardens also has to adhere to Food and Safety regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mr. Robb Wheeler and Ms. Madga Cieciuch were the tour guides. Mr. Robb informed the students about skilled and unskilled positions within their organization. He explained unskilled does not mean that you do not know anything but that you are just not trained for the job yet. The students had many questions and were impressed that this was a family-oriented business. Mr. Robb pointed out that students could begin to work in their stores at age 15 and in their two local manufacturing plants at age 18. All applications are taken online. At the end of the tour, Arden’s Gardens provided the students with a sample of one of their newest products and a bottle of a smoothie to take with them.
The Georgia High School High Tech program is partnering with the State Farm Foundation to host teen drivers’ education training for twenty Pickens County High School students. The State Farm Good Neighborhood Citizenship grant award has made it possible for students to participate in two drivers training classes in the first and second semester of school year 2022-2023 for twenty students enrolled in the 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 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. Over 90% of these students pass the drivers training test.
Local State Farm representatives Marty Callahan and Alan Horne visited the class to meet the students and present the check. We are thrilled that the Pickens County HSHT students are benefitting from our partnership with the State Farm Foundation.
Approximately 250 students from 22 high schools participated in the annual HSHT Augusta Area College & Career Resource Fair held at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Martinez, Georgia on January 24, 2023. Vocational Rehabilitation Director of Client Services, Jennifer Howell, joined HSHT in welcoming the students, school staff and vendors to the event. The morning’s guest speaker was Nichole Spencer, Vice President of student Affairs at Augusta Technical College. Ms. Spencer presented information on Augusta Technical College including the new programs and locations in the area.
After the presentation, students were able to meet with 40 post-secondary and employer vendors to discuss opportunities. They were able to obtain information regarding post-secondary education as well as jobs and careers in the local community. Students were encouraged to visit as many vendors as possible during the allocated time. Those that visited with 20 or more vendors were eligible for prizes during the drawing at the end of the day.
Following meeting with vendors, students and all in attendance enjoyed lunch while networking and discussing future plans and opportunities. Many of the students, teachers, and vendors expressed their appreciation of the day and offered much praise for this year’s fair being so well organized and well attended. The Augusta HSHT Program is proud to offer this annual event to its students and hopes to continue doing so for many years to come.
Fourteen students who are participating in the High School High Tech Program from Banks County High School participated in a 3 day manufacturing institute on January 10th, 11th and 12th, 2023. Colonel Atkinson, instructor for the High School High Tech program, delivered the training in an interactive format and the students were very engaged. There was a hands-on simulation that the students participated in as teams. All of the students who attended this training (100%) received 3 manufacturing accepted certifications: OSHA 10, Lean Six Sigma White Belt and Hands-On CPR. These certifications will assist these students with obtaining employment in the manufacturing industry after their graduation from high school. Opportunities at manufacturing sites in their area were discussed with the students and the importance of adding these certifications to their resume was discussed. This manufacturing institute was made possibly by funding from United Way of NE Georgia. Mark Madison, Director of Community Impact of United Way of NE Georgia, attended the institute one day, met the students, and gave them some words of encouragement.
Students in the HSHT program at Whitfield County Schools took a tour of McKee Foods in Collegedale, TN on December 5, 2022. McKee Foods is known worldwide as Little Debbie. Unfortunately, no pictures can be made of the baking or packing facilities. However, the students got a tour of the machine shop, administrative building, and the packing plant. During the visit, the Christmas tree Little Debbie snacks were being packed in their wrappers and in their boxes to be shipped all over the world.
The students enjoyed a pizza lunch including chips and Little Debbie’s for dessert. During the lunch, students were given a presentation by both the transportation and personnel department. Students were given information on career opportunities and instructions on applying for jobs with McKee Foods.
The tour was enjoyable by everyone including the adults. After the tour, McKee foods gave everyone boxes of Honey Buns to enjoy at home.
On November 15, 2022, students from East Forsyth and Lambert High Schools from Forsyth County participated in a tour of King’s Hawaiian Bread Company in Oakland, Georgia. Community liaison Mr. Terry Spicer conducted the tour and provided background information about the company. This location is the second in the US, serving the eastern part of the United States. All participants were provided with hairnets, headsets, hard hats and white jackets to prepare for the tour. The students were then shown the ingredients storage area and were taught how they are mixed and then cut into small rounds. The ingredients are then placed in a special coated box, baked in giant ovens, packaged in plastic, and finally packed in large cardboard boxes for distribution to grocery stores. Throughout the tour, students were able to see employees conduct quality control at each phase of the process. The highlight for the students was at the end of the baking process when we were able to sample hot rolls with melted butter! Upon returning from the tour, students had an opportunity to ask more questions regarding the process, future expansion for the company, and various other questions. Mr. Spicer commented that he had not received the caliber of questions from any previous group, even college or community groups, and was impressed with the inquiries from these students. He expressed that he originally thought that they might have been prepped with questions but was informed that these students were genuinely curious and inquired about the information they wanted to know more about. We learned that this plant is expanding and will open a second phase next year. Students from Forsyth were very interested and may be King’s Hawaiian employees in the future.
High School High Tech students from Jenkins and Screven County High Schools participated in industries tours at Briggs and Stratton and Cardinal Glass in Statesboro, Georgia. Students met with members of the Human Resources department who provided an overview of each facility. Employment opportunities were discussed, and position summaries outlined, including positions available for seniors while in high school. HR staff shared pay levels for each position as well as benefits offered. A safety briefing was included prior to the actual tour. During the tour students observed employees performing day-to-day operations and were able to ask questions to gain a better understanding of the manufacturing process and the products produced at each site.
HSHT Bibb County FAFSA Workshop
High School High Tech students from Bibb County’s Academy for Classical Education participated in the Free Application for Student Aid Workshop (FAFSA) with Mrs. Carol Lott from the Georgia Student Finance Commission. Students began the session by creating their individual Georgia Futures account followed by completing a brief career exploration assessment. Mrs. Lott met with students individually to discuss their scores. Students then reviewed job categories where they scored the highest and discussed how the scores related to their employment interests. Mrs. Lott discussed different types of financial aid and the difference between financial aid and loans. The students were provided the tools and information to be able to begin the FAFSA application process.
High School High Tech students from Claxton High School participated in a tour at the Lowe’s Distribution Center in Rincon, Georgia. Students met with the location manager and his leadership team. The students were given a safety briefing before the tour which showed the organization’s priorities. They received information about the benefits of joining Lowe’s, necessary skills, shifts, positions, pay rates and how to apply. Student were able to ask the leadership team and office staff question regarding the Lowe’s Distribution Center. The staff provided students with information on employment opportunities at this location.
High School High Tech students from Richmond Hill and Claxton High Schools participated in a tour at JCB North America. Students received a presentation of the company and spoke with the CEO and the human resources department. They also learned the benefits of JCB’s apprenticeship program. Students toured the plant and were provided information on their manufacturing processes. Students gained information about employment opportunities at the JCB North America location.
Dade County High School High Tech students toured the Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing Plant in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Students observed first-hand various manufacturing jobs involved in producing a diverse line of cast iron cookware. They use an age-old process called sand molding during which a proprietary mix of molten pig iron, steel and other ingredients are poured into molds made of sand. The students observed an area of the plant where iron is melted at extremely high temperatures for reshaping. Career opportunities at this location were discussed with the students.
Students from Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Fannin, and Pickens counties participated in the HSHT Northwest College and Career Fair. The Northwest College and Career Fair took place at the Dalton Convention Center in Dalton, GA on March 8, 2022. There were approximately 156 students in attendance. There were 33 employers and post-secondary institutions present. Some of the employers and post-secondary institutions that attended were the Dalton Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, Kroger, Lodge Cast Iron, Chick-Fil-A, Chattanooga Airport, Department of Natural Resources, Dalton Fire and Police Departments, Dalton State College, Chattahoochee Technical College, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College. The Dalton Chamber of Commerce spoke on the importance of soft skills when seeking employment. Many employers brought tools of their trade so that students could have a “hands on” experience while learning about different jobs. Teachers, students, employers, and post-secondary educators were very positive, and all felt that this event was very beneficial to all attending.
HSHT Southeast Manufacturing Institute
High School High Tech students from Effingham County, Chatham County, Jenkins County, and Portal High Schools participated in a three-day Manufacturing Institute Training. This three-day training allowed students to earn three industry recognized certifications for Hands Only CPR, OSHA 10, and Lean Six Sigma White Belt Certifications. During the sessions, students experienced hands-on team building exercises to enhance what they learned in the classroom. All 14 students completed the training and earned all three certifications.
High School High Tech students from Glascock and Warren Counties participated in a tour of Augusta Technical College at the Augusta campus. Students met with the admissions staff and received a presentation on the application process which included deadlines for application submissions. They were also given information about financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Students were provided a presentation of programs of study and requirements for acceptance to specific programs. Students toured the campus so they could see different fields of studies that were offered. During the tour, they learned about academic and social experiences provided on the campus.
From January 12 to 14, Walnut Grove and Loganville High School High Tech students participated in the Walnut Grove Manufacturing Institute. It was located at Walnut Grove High School. The Manufacturing Institute is a 3-day training where students earn 3 certifications in OSHA-10, Lean Six Sigma White Belt, and Hands-Only CPR training. HSHT trainer Vernon Atkinson provided the training and certifications for these students. All fifteen students that attended received all 3 certifications. An employer presentation was given by Leggett and Platt. The Human Resources Coordinator at Leggett and Platt discussed career opportunities available at their location, job expectations, and the application process. The presentation was very interactive with the students participating with relevant questions. All the students were very excited to receive their certifications for OSHA, CPR, and Lean Six Sigma.
High School High Tech and RAMP students from Portal High School participated in a tour at The Statesboro-Bulloch Law Enforcement Training Facility. This tour was hosted by Sheriff Noel Brown and staff of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office. Students interested in a career in law enforcement, or a related field of public safety, networked with professionals from city, county, state, and private organizations involved with the criminal justice system. Students also spoke with EMTs and physical therapists that were present at the facility. Students gained a personal awareness of the criminal justice system by hearing from experienced officers, hands on demonstrations, live practical trainings, and facility tours. Career opportunities were discussed with the students at this location.
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.
HSHT Jones County Social Media Training
Jones County High School High Tech students participated in “The Essentials of Responsible Social Media Use” training conducted by Professor Antre’ Drummer. Students were educated on how to properly present themselves on social media to avoid unfavorable responses during the college application and hiring process. Professor Drummer informed students of the negative consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and language. Participants obtained information on updating privacy setting to protect their privacy, responding to cyberbullying, and utilizing professional social media platforms for post-secondary education and employment networking.
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.
HSHT Newton County Manufacturing Institute
HSHT Newton County Manufacturing Institute, October 20 - October 22, 2022
Newton County High School High Tech students participated in a Manufacturing Institute that was located at the Newton College and Career Academy. The Manufacturing Institute is a 3-day training where students earn 3 certifications in OSHA-10, Lean Six Sigma White Belt, and Hands-Only CPR training. This Manufacturing Institute was partnered with the Walton EMC. HSHT trainer Vernon Atkinson provided the training and certification for these students. The students were from Alcovy, Eastside, Newton County High Schools and Newton College and Career Academy. Twenty-six students participated in the training and 23 of them received all 3 certifications. The other 3 students were present to complete one of the certifications. An employer presentation was given by Be Pro Be Proud Mobile Workshop. This is a 40-foot rig that showcases numerous technical professions through gamified simulators. This simulation allows students to see what it’s like to assemble a PVC pipe, bind metal through a virtual welding experience, and test hand-eye coordination. All students were very excited to complete and receive their certifications for finishing the Manufacturing Institute.
HSHT Chattanooga Airport Tour
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.
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.