THINC holds apprenticeship signing day

Published 7:43 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

Fifteen Troup County students signed papers for their apprenticeships with local industries Friday morning at THINC College and Career Academy. Malone Workforce Solutions partnered with THINC to have students interested in mechatronics and engineering get hands-on job experiences at Duracell, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Wheelabrator, Interface and Mando.

The students will work at the industries during school hours and will get school credit in addition to their paychecks.

“We had some challenges with our employers as it related to 16, 17-year-olds,” said Malone executive vice president Jamey Jackson. “Malone stepped in, and decided to payroll those students to overcome that challenge. They will be Malone employees, and they will be assigned at these employers.”

Jackson said while Malone partnered with THINC Academy, the program is open to all students in Troup County. He said Malone hopes to expand the apprenticeships to other fields, such as healthcare.

“We are very hopeful that, as this program continues to grow, more employers are going to become comfortable with this idea, create more opportunities for our students and, ultimately, bridge a gap of workforce development that we didn’t already have,” Jackson said. “The sky is the limit. We really hope that if 15 (students) is the first (group) as we open to additional pathways, hopefully the next time we have 50 (students).”

Matthew Callaway, Justin Rachala, Jeff Toney and Annazier Chelcy signed to work for Duracell. KeOnthany Seals signed to work for Interface. Jaime Gonzales, Connor Ferrante and Riley Morgan-Harless signed to work for KMMG. Modesty Straughn, Lamarco Brooks, Alex Hunter, Jamiel Truitt and DW Ward signed to work for Mando. Mya Straughn and Spencer Johnson signed to work for Wheelabrator.

Callaway said at Duracell, he and other students will maintain equipment.

Chelcy said he looks forward to gaining experience using the machinery at Duracell.

“Duracell was [close] and most of the things that they had at the facility were what we were talking about in mechatronics,” Chelcy said.

Latesa Bailey, KMMG head of human resources department senior manager, said the plant is excited about hosting Gonzales, Ferrante and Morgan-Harless.

“Our Kia culture is built on a solid foundation that people are the heart and soul of our company,” Bailey said. “We are passionate about work-based learning and excited about developing our future workforce.”

Jackson said the program is a game changer for workforce development in Troup County.

“To overcome the challenge and to help our employers overcome the challenge of putting students under the age of 18 to work is not necessarily a new idea, but it is a new idea for our community,” Jackson said. “We are very proud to be partnering with THINC to be the new idea that carried the idea thus far.”