Students at the Jackson site of Foothills Education Charter High School have received training that have them ready for the work force.

The students completed an eight-week welding training course and three of the students have already been offered jobs — two with starting salaries of $42,000 and one with a salary of $60,000. The students were offered jobs with Caterpillar.

“I am 100 percent, make that 110 percent, glad that I went through the training,” said Mason Blalock, a senior at Foothills. He is one of the students who was offered a job at Caterpillar.

“We had great role models who trained us,” he added. “We also learned a trade and were able to get a job.”

Mason only needs three more classes to graduate from Foothills and says he is more motivated to finish now that he has a welding job at Caterpillar.

The students who took the welding course at Jackson Foothills received CTAE credit and also received AWS certification. Classes were taught by workforce Innovators of America instructors. Students also earned OHSA-10 certification, forklift certification and First Aid CPR/AED certification.

Foothills student Nathan Huska said one of the things he liked about the program is that he was able to not only learn welding but also skills that will help him, including financial planning, safety in the workplace and writing his first resume.

“These skills will help me in the future,” he said. “It was a great experience. I was also able to get a job at Caterpillar.”

Student Griffin Haynie said participating in the training helped him to realize that welding is a career that he wants to pursue after graduation.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “I was able to learn a skill I am interested in.”

The training was done at the Jackson Foothills campus in the WorkSource Northeast Georgia’s eight-bay welding-training trailer.

Students were recognized at a special program at the Jackson Foothills site for completing the training. Speaking at the program were instructors Robert Johnson and Pete MGill, CEO of Workforce Innovators of America representative Clay Evans, site director Rachael Parr and superintendent Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman.

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