WCHS Students Learn of Local Career Opportunities during Waco Works
Sandersville, Ga., (OFTC)-- Over sixty 10th -12th graders from Washington County High School (WCHS) participated in Waco Works at Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC), an event geared toward exposing and informing students of local career and skillstraining opportunities in Washington County, Tuesday, November 6.
Waco Works was sponsored by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce after being one of eight local chambers to be named a recipient of the Fall 2018 College Access Grant through the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.
The $3,000 grant allowed the chamber to coordinate the creation of Waco Works with OFTC, Washington County High School and several key industries within Washington County.
“Aside from this grant funding opportunity, the chamber has a dedicated Education and Workforce Development Committee that meets regularly to implement strategies to support our education system and workforce efforts,” shared Washington County Chamber President Katie Moncus, “and Waco Works fell perfectly into all of these categories.”
After securing the grant Moncus and her team coordinated with the College and high school and emphasized their expectations were “to provide each student with an engaging day packed with valuable information from the most skilled leaders in the area.”
“We want to showcase diverse job opportunities for students and match the qualifications with OFTC’s available course path,” she added. “It gives the students the full picture from training to the field.”
Upper level automotive and carpentry Career, Techn ical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) students were chosen by the high school to participate in Waco Works and toured several key programs at OFTC like commercial truck driving, welding, diesel equipment technology, electronics, electrical control, and in dustrial systems.
Students also toured local industries like Burgess Pigment Co., Howard Sheppard, Inc., Duraline, American Railcar Industries and Premier Tire, and heard from industry leaders on the types of jobs they have available, the training they req uire their employees to have, and what they look for when hiring new employees.
“This is a good opportunity for my students because they are able to go into various industries in the county, see what types of jobs are available, find something that fits their personality, learn how well each job pays, then make an informed career decision that will affect the rest of their life,” said Timothy May, WCHS Assistant Principal and CTAE Director. “I believe that programs like this are vital to the economic adva ncement of our county.”
The way the day was designed was engaging and our students were excited to participate, May added. “They wanted to find out about what employment opportunities and educational opportunities were available in Washington County and t hrough participating in Waco Works, they did.”
Charles Tarbutton of B-H Transfer and Jayson Johnston of the Washington County Development Authority spoke to the students during lunch and encouraged the students to take advantage of the different opportunities in front of them.
“You don’t have to leave Washington County for you to have a great opportunity or a career,” Tarbutton said. “I’ve never seen a better time than today to be learning a skill that can translate into a good career. But a willingness to learn is critical.”
In order to meet the needs of local industries by providing a skilled workforce, local partnerships must continue to work together, and Waco Works is a wonderful example of these partnerships the group shared.
“OFTC is one strong link to connecting the dots” when it comes to providing the local industries with a skilled workforce, Moncus said.
“We have to expose students to the career and education opportunities right here in our county,” added OFTC Executive Vice President, Erica Harden.
“This is the core of what we do,” she said. “Our mission is to prepare our citizens to be productive members of our community through education and workforce development. We have a need for skilled labor for existing and new in dustries in Washington County and OFTC and WCHS can be a catalyst for that workforce.”