The formal Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new Advanced Manufacturing and Welding Lab was officially dedicated on August 3, 2021 at the Athens Community Career Academy (ACCA). Representatives from many of the corporate and manufacturing partner organizations were on-hand for the celebration and to share their reasons for investing their time, money, expertise, and energy with the Clarke County School District (CCSD) in this exciting endeavor.
This project is another shining example of connecting local and regional workforce needs with CCSD students who become highly trained, skilled workers to fill those vital roles. This new lab is the centerpiece to the Advanced Manufacturing pathway at ACCA.
“This is another exciting addition to our already stellar Career Academy curriculum offerings,” said Jenny Williams, ACCA CEO. “Career academies in Georgia bring industries and businesses together to work on a workforce need that has been identified in the community, and they create a curriculum together to fill the pipeline needed – current and future workforce needs.”
Over the past three years, ACCA has been engaged with the Athens-Clarke County Department of Economic Development, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Athens Area Manufacturers Roundtable to develop a new and innovative pathway that prepares our students for jobs in our local manufacturing industries.
Many industry leaders were invaluable in helping develop the curriculum for the Advanced Manufacturing Pathway & Welding Lab. These include ABB Motors & Mechanical, Caterpillar, Johnson & Johnson, RAI Construction, Carrier Transicold, and Accurus Aerospace. Companies who contributed large donations towards funding the new lab and pathway were Georgia Power, Caterpillar, Carrier Transicold, and ABB Motors & Mechanical.
This innovative lab space will teach students the key skills needed to be successful in various Advanced Manufacturing jobs to include robotics, engineering, welding, and programmable logistics. Starting salaries for most of these jobs average $17-$24 an hour and can grow to $60 an hour. Additionally, many students will leave the program with three or more certifications, making them marketable outside the manufacturing industries. Several local partners also offer tuition assistance for students who choose to continue their education at a college, university, or technical school.
Christy Terrell, Georgia Power’s External Affairs Manager, and Chair of ACCA’s Board of Directors, said “Career Academies are successful by utilizing the three-legged stool model - collaboration in the community between secondary education, post-secondary education, and business/industry. All three must work together to ensure the academy’s success and the success for the students.”
ACCA has been preparing CCSD students to meet our local and regional workforce needs since 2011. In the last several years, ACCA Board Members have worked intentionally to be laser focused and data driven to ensure that students have the relevant life experiences and employability skills to be successful in both college and career endeavors.
Clarke County School District
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