A group of dual-enrollment students took a major step toward securing a productive future last week.
On March 5, 65 students, along with their parents, voluntarily signed commitments to complete one of four career pathways offered at the Bartow County College and Career Academy at the first Skills to Career Commitment Night, designed to highlight dual-enrollment programs in the areas of air-conditioning technology, automotive technology, computer technology and welding technology.
The Bartow County School System, in partnership with Chattahoochee Technical College, provide college courses at BCCCA, and the sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in one of the programs are given high school and college credit and receive technical certificates when they complete it.
“With these four post-secondary programs, it is a commitment by our students to push their abilities beyond high school,” said Dr. Greg Doss, director of the career, technology and agricultural education program. “These are high-demand, skilled technical areas that have been identified by industry leaders. It is also a commitment on behalf of the school system and CTC to provide a rigorous program and support for students.”
BCCCA Principal Dr. Paul Sabin said the group of signers represents an even larger group who have chosen to pursue certificates and credentials in one of those four areas.
“By committing to complete these programs in high school, these students are starting on a path to build the skills needed to have great career opportunities in the future,” he said. “All of these programs are in partnership with Chattahoochee Technical College and the Bartow County School System and offer a great deal of support for these young folks. What a great opportunity for these students and the community.”
The students and parents who signed the letters of commitment agreed to put their best efforts forward to complete the programs, Sabin said.
“Furthermore, these students are agreeing to have good attendance, participate in all of the training and represent the college and the school system in a professional manner,” he said. “This commitment is a symbolic gesture toward the students’ future education and training.”
Sabin said Cartersville and Bartow County need the best skilled workforce if they’re going to thrive in the future.
“These young folks have made the first step toward gaining these skills,” he said. “In a few short years, these young men and women will be the economic engine and employee pipeline for our thriving community.”
Of the four pathways, welding led the pack with the most commitments, 38, followed by air-conditioning technology with 14, automotive technology with eight and computer technology with five.
Cass High sophomore Alison Fatz and freshman Ahmeer Fowlkes both committed to the welding pathway.
“I chose welding because I found it very interesting, and I am looking forward to having skills that will help me in my future career as a welder or perhaps in the HVAC industry,” Alison, 15, said. “I want to work for a larger company that pays well.”
Ahmeer, also 15, said his mom encouraged him to commit to welding.
“She felt there was lots of opportunity in welding to be creative and for jobs,” he said.
The Cartersville resident added his ultimate dream after high school is to play in the NFL, but his “backup plan” is to work as an automotive welder.
Doss said he thought the academy’s first signing ceremony was “very successful.”
“[Superintendent] Dr. [Phillip] Page delivered words of inspiration at our commitment ceremonies to ensure all students are either enrolled, enlisted or employed upon graduation,” he said. “Parents and their children not only signed the commitment, but they were also able to meet the instructors and tour the lab. Also, they were able to meet with their high school counselors and CTC representatives to complete their application process.”
“This was an exciting evening and the first step toward a great career for a lot of students,” Sabin added.
The two students also thought the signing ceremony went well.
“It made me feel like I was getting signed for a college scholarship,” Ahmeer said. “I felt proud of myself for the accomplishments I was making as a freshman in high school.”
“I enjoyed meeting my instructor and future fellow students,” said Alison, also a Cartersville resident. “I look forward to learning many new skills.”