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Partnership helps local students find career direction
12 complete Linking Industry to Education program
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Student forklift driver Tyler Simmon practices moves to a loading dock as part of the Linking Industry to Education program. - photo by For The Times

A partnership between two educational entities and a nonprofit organization has local leaders excited at how it’s benefiting high school students involved in the program.

Known as LITE (Linking Industry to Education), the pilot program this year recently graduated its first class, recognizing 12 students for receiving industry-recognized certificates in fields like welding, forklift operation, career development and OSHA training.

Kim Guy, a workforce development coach with Lanier Charter Career Academy, said the program has a “career-driven vision...that many of the students in this generation need.”

Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield said LITE is “one of the most exciting things I’ve been able to witness in my decades in education.”

“This summer, we took a group of over-aged students that had not had their needs met by a traditional education, and we asked ‘if we could provide you with high-quality training for in-demand jobs, would you be interested?’”

Added Schofield: “They’ve proven that they’re absolutely interested.”

The program sought to equip high school students for the world of work through technical training in an industry-recognized program. Welding and joining technology was identified as the program of choice based on employer demand in the area and the skill-set of the students selected.

A large number of the students involved in the program have already found jobs, said Lanier Technical College President Ray Perren. Six of the 12 students are now working at Kubota, while the other six are continuing their education and training in other capacities.

“This program has helped me learn a skill that takes a lifetime to master, it got me a job with Kubota and all the equipment I needed. If I had to choose my favorite part of this program I would have to say that it would be just getting the hands on training that is required to be a welder in today’s business world,” said student Tyler Pinson.

Goodwill of North Georgia was also involved to help provide training for the students.

“It’s amazing to see how far these students progress in just a few short weeks,” Perren said. “At Lanier Tech, we’re here to train people, and here were 12 students who may not have been successful in the high school setting, and we gave them the opportunity to succeed in something they like.”

Added Perren: “And, that feels good for everybody involved.”

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