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School officials spend summer as industry interns
Work-based learning coordinators gain information for students
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Holli Howard, Chestatee High School's work-based learning coordinator, worked at Kubota as part of a Teachers in Industry project sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.

Some high school students seek help finding internships and jobs out of school.

In North Georgia, many teachers and school administrators spend their summer working in the internships they hope to recommend to their students.

Hall County work-based learning coordinators are participating in a Teachers in Industry program sponsored by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education.

Holli Howard, work-based learning coordinator for Chestatee High School, spent the first week of her summer working for Kubota KMA.

“As work-based learning coordinators, our job throughout the school year is to see what type of career our students want to have, what their skill set is and then place them in internships or jobs based on that,” Howard said. “The program allows teachers to apply to work in an industry for 20 hours during their summer, and the Dalton Chamber of Commerce actually compensates us for that.”

Howard said she started with a two and a half day boot camp, including safety training and work simulations. She reported to the training facility at 7 a.m. each morning, dressed in uniform, which consists of steel-toe boots, safety glasses and ear plugs. She worked an assembly simulation, including practicing assembling a fuel pump.

The experience taught her what the industry needs from its young workforce.

“Scott Santimier, Kubota’s training manager, has been a great contact over the last two years as he has expressed a great interest in hiring work-based learning students,” Howard said. “I was thrilled he agreed to let me be a part of this experience so I could better serve my students who were interested in interning at Kubota in the years to come.”

Howard isn’t the only work-based learning coordinator in the county to participate in the program. Deana Harper from North Hall High School will work with Barbe America, and Cree Aiken from Johnson High School will work with TRW Automotive.

Felecia Doyle, Flowery Branch High School coordinator, worked at IMS Gear and has also completed her 20 hours with the program.

Doyle said she’s gained important manufacturing insights she can share with her students.

“IMS Gear wants to partner with our WBL program and allow our students to be a part of the apprenticeship program,” she said. “The company has also agreed to have students tour their facility and see the robotic technology. As an educator, I must continue to teach soft skills and encourage students to do research on the local manufacturing companies in our Hall County and consider pursuing this field as a career option.”

Howard said she too learned about the careers and internship opportunities available to her students with Kubota. She said the program will allow her to better guide her students interested in the manufacturing industry into career choices after graduation.

“I learned that the manufacturing industry is more than just working on an assembly line,” Howard said. “There are opportunities for people with higher degrees and specific training to be successful in this industry. Information technology, robotics, engineers, machinist, welders, management and technicians are all positions that Kubota has on staff.

“The beauty of a place like Kubota is it employs people right out of high school and trains them to do the job that is needed, in addition to hiring people with a higher degree and certification.”

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