School to Work provides good choices

Published 6:51 pm Thursday, June 13, 2019

On Monday, six recent Troup County high school graduates signed compensation plans to begin working for major industries in LaGrange, as part of the School to Work program, a program developed to help graduating students find jobs in local industries. Such a program has taken the combined coordination and efforts of the school system, local industry and LaGrange’s economic development team to create this pipeline from the school system to the workforce, but now can begin to serve both graduates and local industry for years to come.

Kamren Stargill, Alyssa Conigliaro, Jamir Lenton and Ben Herring all signed plans to begin work with Caterpillar, Inc., while Marcus Nunn and Devin Morris signed plans to begin working for Mauser Packaging Solutions. Caterpillar generated $54.7 billion in revenue in 2018, while Mauser can trace its roots back to the 1800s and is a global leader in packaging solutions. Both are tremendous companies, and these six newly-employed graduates are fortunate to have landed jobs with such reliable employers.

On the flip side, representatives from both companies commented on how impressed they were with the students who interviewed for positions. Mauser’s plant manager Adam Worsley relayed that he has been looking for a solution of this sort for nearly a decade, and believes the relationship between the school system, the industries and the community at large will be more symbiotic as a result.

“I think it has been something that has been needed in our community for probably the last decade,” Worsley said.

We have written editorials on this page in the past related to the ever-increasing cost of college education, which has far outstripped the comparable wage increase over the last 20 years.

College remains the right decision for many students, however it is imperative that our community continue to think strategically about how to best marry graduating high school students who have chosen not to pursue secondary education with local jobs that can pay a living wage.

The School to Work program represents an initiative on behalf of a number of interested parties in the community, working together to create a workable system that will positively impact the lives of graduates, as well as allow local businesses to have an ever-expanding crop of new talent.

Initiatives like this are necessary and needed, and we hope in years to come more students will be able to take advantage of programs such as this.