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he said. “As we have had an apprenticeship program in our headquarters in Germany for more than 50 years, it was logical to look at this. We picked industrial mechanic as the profession to start with because the skills you learn there are exactly what I need now and in future … We went with the German type because the curriculum is proven in Germany for more than a century, and it ensures a certain quality rigor that will yield the result we are looking for.” Those skills include welding, machining, assembly, pneumatics and maintenance, he added. “The most important thing it will provide is new opportunities for skill development and employability for our students,” said Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. “That will benefit local employers in turn, and it will open doors for future students as other companies offer similar apprenticeship opportunities. Another benefit is that this idea has already brought recognition from around the state and country. It is innovative and collaborative, and that is positive for our community.” There are also plans to grow GA CAT T and make it available to more students and businesses in the years to come. “We are already seeing interest from additional companies who want to partner with CEC and the school system to establish apprenticeships,” Barker said. “That would provide opportunities in additional workforce categories – increased opportunities aligned with local workforce needs and student career interests.” “We will be able to show other students the program at work,” said Whitlock. “That will immediately attract even more students. As important, we can now begin discussing the 350plus other occupational areas in which a program like this can be started. That will attract other students who are interested in different occupational areas. “It will be important to continue bringing important stakeholders to the table to make this available to more students,” he added. “Coweta is becoming more global and more regional in its reach. These programs will require new global and regional stakeholders.” CL

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A student works at Grenzebach in Germany as part of the apprenticeship program there.

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