On Monday, August 14, 2017, the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (GA CATT) program kicked off its second year with a signing ceremony for 21 new apprentices. This year the program expanded from one cluster to three, including students in the Coweta, Rockdale-Newton, and Spalding county areas.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle spoke at the event, commending the program for creating more opportunities for individualized learning paths for students and for helping meet the workforce needs of manufacturers. He also shook the hand of each apprentice as they signed to a three-year commitment to work with and learn from one of 18 manufacturing companies that are participating in the program this year.
Larry Alford, GaMEP South Metro Atlanta Region Manager, has been involved with GA CATT for the past 2 years as the industry liaison. His primary role has been to connect local manufacturers to the program, helping them to understand the commitment required and the benefits that are available. He facilitates the local team meetings where partners from industry, education, government and economic development identify and address implementation challenges.
Alford said, “At the GaMEP at Georgia Tech, we work with companies to help them solve problems and grow their companies. One of the biggest concerns we have heard in recent years is the shortage of skilled workers. This program benefits the companies by helping them build a pipeline of talent for technical positions that are very hard to fill.”
After being recommended by their teachers, the students must go through a rigorous application, testing, and interview process to be selected to participate. They are selected and hired by a host company and complete a combination of high school credit courses, dual-enrollment courses at a local technical college, and hands-on training modules at the manufacturing facility- while also being paid hourly for their work. When they graduate from high school, they will have made great progress toward a technical college degree, have a USDOL certification, and be able to sit for a prestigious German certification as an Industrial Mechanic.
Levi Coe, who signed with Grenzebach in Newnan last year, attended the ceremony to support the new apprentices in the Coweta cluster. When asked about his experience so far he said, “I recommend this program to other students because I like to see how my education has a technical application. I also know that when I graduate, I will be in high demand to employers because of the skills I will have already learned.”
Watch the ceremony here: