Fourteen students enrolled in the High School High Tech Program from Jones County High School participated in a 3-day manufacturing institute in October. Instructor Ray James 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. Trey Wagers from Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, presented an overview of the manufacturer and discussed future employment opportunities with the students. All 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.
Students from Crisp, Greenville and Marion High School visited Fort Valley State University (FVSU). Students were amazed at the various programs of study that are available at FVSU and the size of the campus. Students thoroughly enjoyed touring the animal processing center and were astonished at the level of cleanliness and safety displayed. Students found out "where burgers really come from". They witnessed how soap is made and experienced eating ice cream made from goat milk. Students liked the various choices of food and the level of freedom they observed students having on campus.
Students from Screven County High School visited DOT Foods in Vidalia in September. DOT Foods Human Resources representatives provided a power point overview of the company, including entry level positions, pay rates and promotional opportunities. Students were then taken on a tour of the facility, which included the dry goods warehouse and the freezer warehouse. In each warehouse stored products were seen as well as the loading and unloading processes.
Fannin County HSHT students took a tour to King’s Hawaiian in Oakwood, GA on September 14, 2023. The students learned the history of the company, core values, employee benefits, products offered, and the many opportunities for employment. The students also gained knowledge that the skills being taught in high school such as good attendance and problem solving will transfer into the workplace. After classroom instruction, students suited up for a tour of the actual plant where the dinner rolls are made and packaged. The students were given hot rolls right off the conveyor belt and were given a package to take home.
Students from Jenkins County High School High Tech program participated in Job Readiness Training Session #1. During this session they learned how to appropriately dress for a job interview and participated in a discussion on commonly asked interview questions. Students were also taught how to develop at least one follow up question for the employer as well as strategies to use when the answer for an interview question is not known.
HSHT students from Dublin City, East Laurens, and West Laurens High Schools participated in the summer GROW (Getting Ready for Opportunities in Work) program June 12th through June 16th, 2023, at the Dublin campus of Oconee Fall Line Technical College. This weeklong program provided training to students in five areas, Self-Advocacy, Career Exploration, Workplace Readiness, Counseling on Post-Secondary opportunities, and Work Based Learning experiences. The students toured two employers in the area: YKK AP America and the Carl Vinson Veterans Administration Hospital in Dublin The students learned about Money Management. The students received job readiness, team-building, leadership, self-advocacy, and social media etiquette trainings. The students completed resume writing workshops and received a completed electronic and hard copy of their resume. The students also toured the Dublin campus of Oconee Fall Line Technical College and received information on admissions, financial aid and disability services at this campus. Gift cards incentives were awarded daily for attendance and a chrome book was awarded the last day.
Students from Montgomery, Telfair, and Wheeler County High Schools participated in the summer GROW program June 5th through June 9th, 2023, at the Wheeler County Chamber of Commerce. This weeklong program provided training to students in five areas: Self-Advocacy, Career Exploration, Workplace Readiness, Counseling on Post-Secondary opportunities, and Work Based Learning experiences. The students learned about Money Management and toured the Wheeler County State Bank. They were also enlightened about the community as they toured the Alamo City Hall, Prison Well, Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Wheeler County Sheriff’s office. The students received leadership, self-advocacy, and social media etiquette trainings. They toured the campus of Brewton Parker College in Mt. Vernon.
During the month of May, students from East Paulding HS, Hiram HS, Paulding HS and South Paulding HS toured the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Donald Apperson conducted the tours and provided information on the various jobs available with the department. They have both government and civilian positions available. He provided examples of starting pay, benefits, the Cadet program and internship programs available to students while they are in high school. Various members for several of he departments presented information regarding their particular jobs (jailer, patrolman, CSI, nurse, K-9, administrative, detectives, juvenile detectives and many others). The CSI department allowed students to practice identifying their fingerprints on paper with various methods used. The K-9 department provided a demonstration of what their Deputy Dogs were capable of doing. A general tour of the facility was provided.
Students from Dodge County High School participated in Financial Literacy Overview training on April 14, 2023. Trainer Autumn McBride led the students through topics such as Earnings and Savings, Budgeting, and Needs vs. Wants. They also learned more about the topics of managing spending and credit vs. debt. Students were engaged in the presentation and learned through instructor guided activities as well as through classroom discussions.
The students at Harris High School toured Buffalo Rock, in Columbus, Ga. They were welcomed by the Human Service Director, Deana Berger. She allowed each student to help themselves with all of the Pepsi products, which included snacks and any soft drinks of that their choice.
Mrs. Berger made connections between what the students have learned at their school and the skills needed at Buffalo Rock. Her power point opened with the “Life of a Pepsi” from the time the Pepsi is given life until it is consumed by a consumer. She gave detailed information on all the career opportunities that Buffalo Rock offers. Then, to make her presentation real she led the students into the plant. The students were excited to see how the forklift moved at such fast pace, and how the employees work as a team.
Mrs. Berger told the students the one thing that they are looking for in their company is dedication. She added that we can teach the job, but we can’t them employees’ to be present. She guaranteed an interview to any student who completed an application and submitted their resume. Berger ended the tour by introducing the plant manager and the person, who evaluates the applications and resumes. The tour and presentations were enjoyed by all.
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.
Putnam County HSHT students took a tour of Reynolds Lake Oconee. They were greeted by Human Resources representative Jessica Bellout who facilitated the visit. An overview of the National Golf Course was provided by Golf Pro Ryan Frish who discussed the importance of teamwork and customer service and how these elements related to his staff in their everyday work. Students were given an opportunity to view these services in the gift shop. They met with the Food and Beverage Manager and Executive Chef, Ryan Jay, who provided an overview of the restaurant and kitchen. Students explored opportunities in the culinary portion of the facility. Director of Marinas, Brian Baker, met with the students and discussed staff longevity of employment. He discussed how seasonal and part time employees have moved into full time employment with Reynolds. The tour ended with a visit to the Lake Club Recreation Facility where students met with Victoria Everhart who discussed the importance of teamwork and cooperation.
At the completion of the tour, Mrs. Bellout discussed employment opportunities that are available for current high school students. She provided the information on how to apply and invited the students to attend their upcoming job fair.
The Georgia High School High Tech Program coordinated their annual NW College and Career Fair on February 28, 2023, at the Dalton Convention Center. There were 294 students and 37 teachers from Whitfield, Catoosa, Murray and Walker county school systems in NW Georgia that attended and met with 35 employers, post-secondary sites and community partners. Students meet with the partners one-on-one to discuss opportunities available after graduation from high school. A few of the vendors brought eye-catching props and conversation starters for the students. One of the biggest hits of the day was Pilgrim’s Pride and their baby chicks for the students to hold. Lodge Cast Iron brought materials necessary to demonstrate how cast iron pots are made.
The fair was designed to give students the opportunity to explore career opportunities, meet prospective employers, and practice engaging in professional behavior. It was also valuable to students with post-secondary decisions at the college level or technical school level. After the College and Career Fair, everyone enjoyed lunch at various restaurants across Whitfield County.
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.
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.
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.