Octavia Price, Kelsey Tucker

Octavia Price (left) of Cedartown High School and Kelsey Tucker (right) of Rockmart High School open leg packs to be used to assemble furniture while working in manufacturing during Project SUCCESS. Price has committed to the U.S. Marines and Tucker plans to attend GNTC and enter the Dental Assisting Program.


Project SUCCESS, a collaborative effort between Georgia Northwestern Technical College, The HON Company, Great Promise Partnership (GPP), Polk County Schools, and the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, held a graduation ceremony for the first cohort of students to complete the program.

The ceremony was held at The HON Company in Cedartown on Monday, June 1.

The collaboration provided students with work-based learning in manufacturing and course credit to give students a head start on their post-secondary education or career path. The students that participated in Project SUCCESS earned a steady paycheck, technical and professional skills, and a certificate in manufacturing.

The credits the students earned are transferable to any manufacturing program in the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Clay Cooper, member and community relations manager at The HON Company began the celebration by providing some background on how Project SUCCESS was first developed.

“It’s a culmination of a journey today that started wit­h The HON Company and Polk County Schools­ and other community partners back in 2011,” said Cooper. “This group was united in creating a unique work-based learning program that would help impact graduation rates in Polk County Schools and attract future generations to careers in manufacturing.”

Project SUCCESS was launched by GPP and is modeled on The Southwire Company’s successful 12 for Life program. GPP is a cooperative education nonprofit organization that works to increase the number of high school graduates in Georgia and to prepare students for their next post-secondary step whether it is college, the military or work.

As part of Project SUCCESS, students attended a GNTC class at The HON Company in Cedartown, Monday through Thursday, from 3:15 to 3:50 p.m. and then worked in manufacturing from 4 to 9 p.m. The students had a classroom and computer lab at The HON Company as well as a dedicated workspace where they assembled office furniture. They also were paid a competitive wage and held to the same standards as employees at The HON Company.

Listed are the 2015 graduates of Project SUCCESS showing (from left to right) the student’s name, high school, and chosen career path:

Patricia Escutia, Cedartown High School (HS), Medical Assisting at GNTC

Brook Jannotte, Rockmart HS, Dental Assisting at GNTC

Bryana Lester, Cedartown HS, Healthcare

Octavia Price, Cedartown HS, U.S. Marine Corps

Kevin Rhinehart, Rockmart HS, Industrial Maintenance Technology at GNTC

Brenda Segura, Cedartown HS, U.S. Marine Corps or other military.

Sergio Segura, Cedartown HS, Electrical Systems Technology at GNTC

Ron Stephens, Cedartown HS, Biology at Athens State University

Kelsey Tucker, Rockmart HS, Dental Assisting at GNTC

Rhinehart also accepted a full-time position with the HON Company.

Todd Murphy, vice president of manufacturing at HNI Corporation, The HON Company’s parent company, thanked the students for their commitment during the ceremony.

“Your efforts have helped develop this community initiative project and you paved the way for others to come behind you,” said Murphy “This will further benefit Polk County students, our community, and our company going forward.”

Great Promise Partnership is a collaboration of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia 4-H, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, local school districts, and Georgia employers.

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities. Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC. This past year, 14,562 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 8,249 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the state of Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,313 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.