Students from Echols, Lanier, Lowndes, and Valdosta high schools participated in the second annual Wired for Workforce program, March 27-31.
Wired for Workforce is a partnership between the Valdosta Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA) and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College that provides forklift and OSHA training, industry-specific instruction on tools, math and measurement, and employability skills.
Twenty-eight students completed the training and received a certificate for Forklift Safety from Wiregrass Tech, an OSHA 10-hour General Industry Certification, and a Wired for Workforce Certificate of Completion from the VLCDA.
Lunch sessions, which were sponsored by Cargill, SAFT, Langdale Industries, and Packaging Corporation of America, gave students time to interact with industry representatives and learn about manufacturing careers.
“There is a need for skilled labor for new and existing industries in Lowndes County,” said Stan Crance, VLCDA director of Business Recruitment and Existing Industry. “Throughout the year, we work with Wiregrass and other educational partners to inform local students about training and jobs close to home.”
On January 19, the VLCDA sponsored a Student Industry Day, where approximately 100 high school students toured American Drill Bushing, Berry Global, Langdale Forest Products, Lowe’s Distribution Center, and Steeda.
Students learned about course options at Wiregrass Tech, including the recently launched Industry 4.0 degree program. As part of a panel discussion, Steve Dale (South Georgia Pecan), Jenn Farrar (Bimbo QSR), and Jon Vigue (Wild Adventures) gave the students tips on applying for jobs and how to advance professionally.
Student Industry Day provides an overview of the types of manufacturing jobs available in the region, while Wired for Workforce takes job training to the next level.
“The Wired for Workforce program provides specific hands-on industry training and is open to a limited number of students,” Crance said. “Students are selected based on their direct interest in manufacturing careers. When they complete the course, they have industry certifications and connections to businesses that are currently hiring.”
“Growing talent for our local industries is a huge priority for Wiregrass,” said Michael Williams, Vice President of Economic Development at Wiregrass Tech. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with our local high schools and the Valdosta Lowndes County Development Authority to get these students prepared for exciting and lucrative careers in manufacturing. ”