State and local leaders from government and education were among those on hand to help Catoosa County’s first 16 students jump-start their futures during Friday’s (Aug. 16) College and Career Commitment Ceremony held on the Catoosa County Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) in Ringgold.

The county’s first “From HERE to CAREER! Academy” pathways in the fields of Industrial Systems Technology, Mechatronics, and Robotics begins now. Sixteen Catoosa County students, representing all three high schools in Catoosa County, will begin the 2019-20 school year in dual enrollment to develop technical and professional skills for jobs in our region.

“We are so thrilled, from a Technical College System of Georgia perspective, to see this effort moving forward in Catoosa County,” said Mark Peevy, Technical College System of Georgia Assistant Commissioner of Secondary Education Initiatives. “This is an effort connecting our youth to their future careers. Not just to one job or company, but to that future career that will help transform them into productive citizens.”

The first students in the brand new program come from Heritage, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, and Ringgold High Schools. From Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe: Luke Allen, Zaniel Carroll, Shannon Kinsey, Clyde Mussared, Kyle Pantages, Noah Phy, Kyle Pursley, and Malik Ware. From Ringgold: Tyler Wolfe-Driver, Connor Hutchins, Lucas Loboda, Emily Momberg, Taylor Pease, and Ashlyn Propst. From Heritage: Zach Adams and Davis Wyre.

“The HERE to CAREER! Academy is truly a community endeavor,” said Denia Reese, Catoosa County Schools Superintendent. “Catoosa County Schools, GNTC, local and state elected officials, and regional business partners have collaborated to prepare an opportunity for our students to achieve success in highly-skilled jobs. This initiative also supports economic development in our region by providing a talent pipeline that will enable them to thrive in the future.”

Reese and Heidi Popham, GNTC president, helped welcome the more than 100 invitees and honorees to the special ceremony. Among those speaking to the students of the pilot program and their families were Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries Director of Workforce Development; Mark Peevy, Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Assistant Commissioner of Secondary Education Initiatives; Georgia State Senator (District 53) Jeff Mullis; Georgia State House of Representative Dewayne Hill (District 3); and Jonathan Connell, Owner of MedSTAT and From HERE To CAREER! Academy Chairman.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for these students that has everyone cheering for them and looking forward to great things in the future,” said Popham. “This is a true testament to Catoosa County and Northwest Georgia’s commitment to education.”

Fall semester classes available online and on-campus at GNTC will begin next week. To learn more about the more than 200 programs offered at GNTC, visit the college at GNTC.edu. You can also contact any one of GNTC’s six campus locations at 866-983-4682. GNTC offers classes online and on-campus at the Catoosa, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield Murray Campuses in Northwest Georgia.

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