The German apprenticeship program is held up as a model worldwide. I am delighted to learn Georgia is seeking to bring the idea to its high schools.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle launched the Georgia Consortium of Advanced Technical Training (GA CATT) Program, the first of its kind in the United States, today with the Central Educational Center, Coweta County’s College and Career Academy. The program unites the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc. with the Technical College System of Georgia and eight Coweta County manufacturing companies. Beginning in the 10th grade, high school students will now have the opportunity to complete their education with a high school diploma, German apprenticeship certificate and an associate degree in Industrial Mechanics through West Georgia Technical College.
“Today is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication by numerous stakeholders to ensure our high school students have access to the world-renowned German apprenticeship model right in here in Georgia,” said Lt. Gov. Cagle. “Georgia is the first state to secure these kinds of dynamic workforce development opportunities in the nation and our students will see tremendous benefits from this revolutionary program. We will begin by selecting 11 10th grade students to take part in this world-class program and I look forward to expanding this model across the state for years to come.”
Lt. Gov. Cagle joined representatives from the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc., the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Technical College and the Central Educational Center to sign the memorandum of understanding, formalizing the agreement between all stakeholders to begin the inaugural program, known as GA CATT.
GA CATT will allow students to begin their apprenticeship in 10th grade with a combination of traditional high school classes, college level manufacturing courses, and apprenticeship modules that will pay $8/hour. By the 12th grade, students will spend 80 percent of their day learning at the manufacturing site earning $12/hour. The German model has proven effective in securing skilled labor while increasing student motivation by securing a professional career track for students at no additional cost for them or their families.
The corporations taking part in this pilot program include Grenzebach, E.G.O. North America, Yamaha, Kason, Yokogawa, Winpak, Chromalloy and Groov-Pin. They will work in conjunction with Coweta County School System to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the employment needs facing each company while hosting student apprentices through their work based learning. The Coweta County Development Authority, along with Georgia Institute of Technology’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Project and Center for Young Worker Safety and Health, will serve GA CATT in an oversight and advisement role as they were essential in bringing the various stakeholders together to make this program a reality for Georgia students.
The Georgia General Assembly acted in the interest of forward thinking dual enrollment programs with the passage of Senate Bill 2 during the 2015 Legislative Session. Now, local boards of education have the ability to award a high school diploma to students who dual enroll while they fulfill specific high school requirements along with specific college requirements. Coweta County’s Central Educational Center, their College and Career Academy, will be instrumental in this process as they will provide primary support for students interested in the program, manage the apprenticeship modules and track the overall educational status of the enrolled students.
GA CATT is projected to accept 11 students as part of the inaugural program this fall. This competitive program currently has 19 students who tested program ready and are now under consideration. Lt. Gov. Cagle is hopeful this model can be incorporated in numerous school districts throughout the state as Georgia continues to better prepare high school students for the evolving and dynamic workforce that awaits them after graduation.
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