Georgia deputy commissioner for international trade visits THINC

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

 On Dec. 12, Mary Waters, the Deputy Commissioner of International Trade for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, visited THINC College & Career Academy in LaGrange. Waters oversees the state’s International Trade program which provides services that contribute to the expansion of Georgia’s exports, the creation and retention of jobs attributable to exports and the continued internationalization of Georgia’s economy. The state’s international trade program assists companies with exporting and matches Georgia suppliers with international buyers.

During her visit to THINC, Waters received a tour of the school and heard about the international business pathway, which started at THINC this year and is the first of its kind in the state. She also spoke with a group of local business and economic development representatives from Kia Motor Manufacturing Company, Sewon America, Georgia Power and The City of West Point — as well as THINC students.

THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle explained that “developing an understanding of the global market and our world, but also having a familiarity with local businesses is key for our students. The international business pathway has been an important step in ensuring our students are ‘engaged locally, connected globally,’ which is one of our main areas of focus.”

Also, this week, THINC’s international business instructor Frederick Neubert met with the International Business advisory committee to provide an update on the new program, which includes the following courses: introduction to international business, global awareness and cultural competency and international business concepts. The career pathway started this school year and was developed by THINC in coordination with representatives from LaGrange College’s international business program and local businesses. While THINC is the only high school in the state to offer international business, the curriculum is now available to all schools in Georgia.

During the status update, Neubert highlighted some of the main components of the program. As with other THINC courses, project-based learning is an important focus. For the international businesses courses, students are broken into teams to develop their own companies, using an online business simulation package. In the simulation, students are required to sell bikes in four regions — Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. A balanced scorecard is utilized to determine the ranking of each company compared to those in other classes. The students recently presented their companies to professors at LaGrange College.

As part of the international business program, students are offered the opportunity to earn the Six Sigma White Belt certification (at no cost to them). Currently, 63 percent of the students have completed the certification, which is the first level in the Six Sigma methodology used to improve business processes through statistical analysis. 

“Our goal is to prepare our students with critical thinking skills and help the students quickly contribute to their new employer’s organization in innovative ways,” Neubert said.

Future plans for the international business pathway include a possible educational tour to Eastern Europe for spring 2020.