Donations Help THINC Make Difference for Students and Employers
LaGRANGE — THINC College & Career Academy recently received a $10,000 donation from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, a labor and employment law firm with offices around the nation, including West Point.
“It is an honor for Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete to be able to contribute to the future of THINC College and Career Academy,” said the firm’s partner and office head, W. Melvin Haas III, in a written statement. “It is a special opportunity to influence the lives of hundreds of future employees in the LaGrange and Troup County areas. We are convinced that THINC academy will enable students to become the best they can be! This can only happen at a world-class facility like THINC academy.”
The mission of THINC is to provide hands-on skills training and education, and create a business-like environment to prepare students for life after graduation.
“THINC’s vision is to realize the full potential of students through cutting-edge education and a business-minded culture of excellence to drive a new era of innovation, growth and productivity in Troup County and the surrounding region,” states a press release from the academy.
By 2020, 61 percent of jobs will require a career certificate or college degree, and only 34 percent of Georgia adults have an associate’s degree or higher, according to a report from Complete College America. In Troup County, about 28 percent of students are listed as not graduating, which includes students who don’t graduate on time.
“If we could increase our graduation rates to 90 percent, that would add more than $7 million to the local economy, more than $400 million to the state of Georgia and nearly $1 million to state FTE (full-time equivalent) funds for the Troup County School System,” said THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle.
In THINC’s first year in operation, the school enrolled a total of 474 students in 10th through 12th grades, and of those enrolled in 12th grade, 99 percent graduated. The school, which has a capacity for 600 students in its current classrooms on the West Georgia Technical College campus, is anticipated to continue growing the number of students and programs offered.
“We had a successful first year and are already facing some challenges, including the need to enlarge our current facility in order to grow new pathways,” said Carlisle. “We’re focused on sustaining our start-up energy, always striving for the unexpected and implementing nationally recognized project-based standards beginning fall 2017. And once our students graduate, we’d like to provide them with additional support as they enter the workforce or college.
“All of this, and more, can be achieved with strategic coordination of employer and community support, as well as school system programs.”
THINC officials hope local employers and colleges are encouraged to get involved with the academy’s work-based learning and pathway advisory committee membership, as well as mentorship and interaction with students through events like THINC career fairs.
According to THINC officials, benefits to local businesses include reduced turnover, better employee skills, increased productivity, reduced time and cost to “onboard” — orient and integrate — new hires, enhanced employee relations and improved attendance. Officials said the academy will guarantee employers that all graduates will demonstrate good work performance, ethics and contribution to the organization — or THINC will retrain them for free.
“We invite local businesses, parents and residents to be a part of all the great things that are happening here at THINC,” said Carlisle. “We want to hear from you, whether it’s to schedule a tour, provide input or funding, or reserve our board room for a meeting.”
For more information, contact THINC at 706-668-6800.