It’s not unusual for high schools to have ceremonies for students who are signing letters of intent to play sports in college. On Friday, Chestatee High School put a new spin on the practice.
Instead of signing to play sports, three Chestatee students signed letters of intent to pursue apprenticeship programs at local industries when they graduate later this month.
Sergio Alcala will be an apprentice at Kubota, while Kyle Speaker and Alex Alcado will join IMS Gear. All three students will also attend Lanier Technical College during the program.
Alcala has been an intern at Kubota this year through the Work-Base Learning Program, and he decided to continue at the company to pursue a career in drafting and manufacturing upon graduation.
Greg Worley of Kubota said the company enjoys participating in signing-day events like the one at Chestatee.
“We want to celebrate the great accomplishments of high school students who are graduating with a diploma and entering into a career in manufacturing,” said Worley. “The apprenticeship through Work-Based Learning (WBL) allows Kubota to discover, develop and deploy a new generation of manufacturing employees.”
Speaker and Alcado heard about the apprenticeship program on a field trip to tour IMS Gear with their computer science class.
“When I saw the facility and learned about the company, I knew it was something I was interested in pursuing,” Alcado said.
At IMS Gear, students can choose a two-year or three-year program that allows them to work and attend Lanier Tech at the same time. To participate in the program, students had to submit an application and go through an interview process.
“One of the greatest strengths of Chestatee High School is its focus on making students life ready, Matt Stowers, Chestatee High School Career Tech principal, said. “This signing day is just a taste of the relevance and power of positive relationships between education and industry. We are proud of the hard work and dedication these young men have displayed and know they will go on to be successful in their careers.”
The growth of apprenticeship programs in the region is evidence that Hall County is a place for business to flourish, said Greg Vitek, chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s workforce development task force.
“We see today that anyone with skills has not only a job, but well-paying ones with good careers,” Vitek said. “Apprenticeships provide employers with the opportunity to develop their own future workforce by selecting and training young people specifically for their needs. And young people have the chance to enter career fields, learn on the job and gain college education, while earning an income and securing long-term, high caliber employment.”