Annual signing day at THINC

Published 10:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

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THINC College and Career Academy students have signed with companies to work at the next level. The Expedition Program at the career readiness center held its annual signing day on Friday, where nine students signed contracts to work with local companies for work-based learning.

The students, many rising juniors and seniors, will work at these companies, similar to an internship, as well as take a workplace learning course at THINC to reinforce skills learned at their respective jobs.

The signing day only features the students getting ready to start in the workforce. The program has 344 Troup County students enrolled. Through their work, students have earned over $600,000 in total this year. CEO of the academy, Gerald Wyatt, said the growth of the program was thanks to Dr. April Armstead and Courtney Freels, two of the program coordinators.

“[Armstead and Freels] have taken this program to expand it, where now students are starting almost every week in organizations throughout our community,” Wyatt said.

The school partners with over 20 local businesses and corporations where the students can get their careers started.

Four students signed on to work with Chick-fil-A next school year; Caleb Harris, Dixie Purser, Lyla Sprayberry, and Shania Tyler. Jason Ryan McClellan and Catalina Starr both signed with the aircraft manufacturer, Fokker Services.

KIA in West Point will take on Leamon Ales Hughes and Skylar Kang. The final signee was within the school system itself. Jaydenn Hill signed with Troup High School to work in the athletic training department.

The students are in a range of jobs, from Logistics to Public Relations and Marketing.

“You hear about people having opportunities in college for internships, they have them now because of Troup County,” Freels said. “The students truly get that hands-on experience where it’s not just in the classroom, they’re getting to really understand, what do you do in aviation, how do you run your own business and market it, [how do you become] an athletic trainer.”

Throughout the next school year, the students will go to their jobs and the workplace learning class at THINC, taught by Freels. Freels will teach lessons on financial literacy, workplace conduct, and receive the students’ timesheets.

Many of the employers at the signing day noted that they have continued working with the expedition program to bring in new, local talent.

“We are on number five and six of our work-based learning students. Our first two have been very successful technicians. One of them was recently promoted, he is 18 years old and he already made senior tech in our facility, the second is on track to do that,” said Jeff Matthews, Vice President of Operations at Fokker Services Group.

Representatives from Truist Bank were also at the signing day to give financial advice and help the students open bank accounts.

“Students are staying here in Troup County because there are so many opportunities that they didn’t know about before,” Freels said.