Getting a head start

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On Tuesday, 20 new apprentices and five returning students from THINC College and Career Academy signed contracts with eight major manufacturers located in LaGrange.

“This is not an easy process and if you have a student here that was selected, your student went through a very rigorous calendar of events to get to where they are sitting now. It is a testament to their decision to set themselves apart from their peer group,” said Jamey Jackson, Executive Vice President of Malone Solutions. “These types of opportunities do not come around a lot for 16 or 17-year-olds. They are going to learn life and professional experience so when they graduate and go to work, they are going to have one or two plus years of work experience, people experience and relationship experience.”

After the apprentices officially signed their paperwork, Helen Rice, third congressional district representative on the State Board of Education, spoke to the students. 

“I have been involved with THINC for a long time and this community for a long time. Parents and students, I am so proud of you,” Rice said. “This is a wonderful journey. Always do your best and the best will come in the end.” 

Mizya Blackmon, who signed her apprenticeship with Wheelabrator, said Tuesday was a day that will put her ahead of everyone else when she graduates from high school. 

“It is a very amazing opportunity to do this, and I would have never expected myself to do it,” Blackmon said. “I already have a job at Chick-Fil-A but now I not only have a job outside of school but also in school. I cannot wait to start this, and I hope any rising freshman, sophomore or junior decides to do this program also.”

THINC Academy helps equip students with technical and career-specific skills through college entry and career-ready curriculum. 

“The hope is that we are changing the culture of not only our employers but students that are here because Troup County is a manufacturing-based community,” Jackson said. “There is a workforce need and quite frankly I think kids want an opportunity.” 

The career and hands-on job experience benefits the students but also the entirety of the Troup County School System. 

“We are excited about this opportunity to prepare our students for a career and to be able to support our local workforce,” said Whitney Glisson, director of secondary education for the Troup County School System. 

“Building these partnerships is good for us, and we could not be more ecstatic for it.” 

The 20 new apprentices were: Caleb Byers, Matthew Callaway, Annazier Chelcy, Michael Miller, Dillian Potts, Toni Sosa, Ke’Onthany Seals, Brian DeGennaro, Toriyon Jackson, Chaquave’ayr Robinson, Trey Smith, Shaniya Blackmon, Amiya Gamble, Kamari Owens, Lathan Patterson, Patriyuna Reeves, Jameil Truitt, Nolan Brooks, Jared Langford, Temima Brown, Cy Hume, Tamyra Dukes, Spencer Johnson, Alex Hunter and Mizya Blackmon.