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Academy teaches multiple workforce skills to students

LaGRANGE – A workforce development program that’s become key in educating local high school students is entering its second year.

“The key point of the College and Career Academy is workforce development,” said Kathy Carlisle, CEO of THINC. “Our major focus is preparing the next workforce for Troup County. Our main focus is to prepare students for life after graduation.”

THINC Academy has 16 instructors and some new programs lined up for 2017.

“We are focusing more on teaching the students ‘soft skills,’” said Carlisle.

There are 13 soft skills that THINC Academy teaches its students: attendance, teamwork, problem solving, initiative, productivity, communication, cooperation, respect, appearance, attitude, sense of urgency, adaptability and attention to details.

“We had all 100 sophomore students take an entrance exam for college and 50 passed,” said Carlisle. “In the spring we are planning on doing a tutorial so all 100 students will pass the test. We will be preparing students for the SAT and ACT (college preparatory) tests. We will be having a robotics competition next week called ‘First Robotics’ where students will receive a package and from that package they will try to build a robot. So we have a lot of things for students to look forward to.”

Preparing students for the real world is THINC’s main focus.

“The business culture we have helps with that,” Carlisle said.

“The thing that’s so exciting for me is to watch our teachers and see them try new things and witness the evolution of them doing things differently,” said Carlisle. “It’s been exciting to see them blossom into a different type of learning environment and I think I see the students respond to that. The students’ confidence has grown and it’s exciting to see students say, ‘This is what I want to do. This is where I want to go. This is the career I want to have,’ or to say, ‘This is what I don’t want to do.’ They are learning and exploring.”

THINC College & Career Academy is a college and career program and a charter program that is under the Troup County School System. THINC Academy targets preparing students to be career-ready and to teach them all the specific, business, critical-thinking and technical skills they’re going to need to make it in the workforce. High school students who are in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade in the Troup County School System are able to attend THINC Academy and they usually attend half-day classes.

There are about 200 students that take classes in the morning and 200 students that come by in the afternoon to take classes. High school students usually take up to two classes on a block schedule, a career class and an academic class.

“The beauty of having the academy next to West Georgia Technical College is that students can get the full college experience,” said Carlisle. “We have 143 students taking classes at West Georgia Technical College right now. Many of them are taking academic subjects that will transfer to any college in the university system of Georgia and some private schools.”

“In order for students to be chosen to attend THINC Academy they have to choose their career path,” said Carlisle. “When they choose, then we can line our academic and career programs up.”

The career classes students can take for certain subjects are mechatronics, health care, engineering, business, marketing and an energy program.

 

Shirttail- Reach James Simpson II at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at james.simpson@lagrangenews.com