Barrow Foothills Weld Ready program graduates are shown with Foothills superintendent Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman (right), Pete McGill, CEO of Workforce Innovators of America (left) and Robert Johnson, Weld Ready instructor (back).

Students at the Barrow site of Foothills Education Charter High School were recognized Nov. 3 for completing the Weld Ready program and receiving training that has them ready for the workforce.

Ashley Blakenship, Remy Carew, Kenan Hopkins, Michael Taylor, Saul Ortiz, Michael Pourron and Cody Peppers received CTAE credit and also received AWS certification

“We are all so proud of you,” Foothills superintendent Sherrie Gibney-Sherman said at the recognition program. “Every one of you could have a job today. Every single one of you.”

The students took the 10-week welding training program at Barrow Foothills. Classes were taught by workforce Innovators of America instructors. The training was done in the WorkSource Northeast Georgia’s eight-bay welding-training trailer.

In addition to learning how to weld, the students were also taught other job skills, including finances and budgeting, being on time to work and work ethics.

“We want to help people achieve their dreams,” said Pete McGill, CEO of Workforce Innovators of America. “Our goal is to open as many doors as we can for you. What is on the other side of that door is 100 percent up to you.”

Carol Rayburn Cofer, workforce development director of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commissioner, said, “Thank you for what you have accomplished so far. Remember this, you are not done yet. We have high expectations of where you are going to go. We’re excited about what you’re going to do. We look forward to where you are going next.”

Cofer added: “We are excited you took advantage of this opportunity to get this certification. You did something that is pretty impressive. Every one of you passed your certification. That is huge. The other thing we want you to know is that your journey doesn’t stop today. You’ve got your Foothills graduation requirements to finish. Make sure you do that. Then, we can help you can help you go on to Lanier College or another technical college.”

Robert Johnson, who is an instructor for the Weld Ready program, said to the parents and supporters at the Nov. 3 recognition program, “I know you have to be as proud as I am of these young people. I have seen these young people go from high school students to professionals.”

Irene Munn, who is the Foothills Regional Coordinator for Career Pathways, pointed out that training would have cost $5,000 per student but it was offered to the students free of charge.


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