From HERE to CAREER Academy students in class

Catoosa From HERE to CAREER Academy students attend their first classes at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Catoosa Campus.

From HERE to CAREER Academy students entering the program this year are on the “mechatronics” pathway. Mechatronics, according to, is “a complex interdisciplinary field that combines the study of mechanics, electronics, automation and computers.”

Future CCA classes will have additional pathways to choose from: law and justice and emergency management; nursing, sports medicine and therapeutic services; information technology; architecture and construction; education; and logistics, distribution and supply chain management.

The first “cohort” of CCA students is spending mornings in classes at Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Ringgold and afternoons at their high schools taking regular classes.

On Fridays, CCA students devote time to learning professional and foundational skills like punctuality, teamwork and problem-solving. In their second year, students will spend Fridays on things like developing a professional résumé, doing mock interviews, listening to guest speakers and participating in internships.

Some older students in the first “cohort” will graduate before going through the full two years but are still expected to gain skills to give them an advantage in the workplace or to further their post-secondary education.

A third year on the pathway is available to students after high school graduation.

Students who finish the CCA course are guaranteed interviews with supporting industries and should be equipped to start good-paying jobs at 18 years old, says Catoosa Schools Superintendent Denia Reese. They will graduate with dual high school and college credit in the GNTC courses they take and with certificates attesting to their qualifications in their areas of study.

During their first year in the CCA program, the first “cohort” of students will study DC and AC circuit analysis, industrial wiring and industrial motor controls.

During their second year, CCA students will study industrial PLCs (programmable logic controllers), networking industrial equipment and industrial instrumentation.

Those students who choose to take the third year will study fluid power systems, pumps and piping systems, robotics, work cell design and industrial mechanics.

Current plans for a dedicated CCA campus at Benton Place in Ringgold include groundbreaking in 2021 and the campus open by 2022 or 2023.

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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