DCBOE participates in Industry Immersion Tour with Chamber

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, June 9, 2021

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Monday morning, faculty and staff from the Decatur County Board of Education attended an industry immersion tour sponsored by the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce with hopes of connecting local industries to their recently graduated students.

The group of roughly 25 faculty members, including CTAE teachers, guidance counselors, principals and the Superintendent were able to visit the sites of Taurus, Steward Machines, A-1 Industries and Danimer Scientific.

Taurus was the first stop on the tour, where the group was broken up into smaller groups of seven before being given an inside look at how each gun is manufactured before being sent off to its recipient.

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David McCallum, VP of Operations at Taurus, then spoke to the educators explaining the company’s current need for dedicated employees.

“We are happy to come in and talk to students or even set up mini classes if possible to talk to your students,” he said.

McCallum also said he is in the works with Head Football Coach Jeff Littleton to come speak to the players about the opportunities available at Taurus upon graduating.

HR Manager Lisa Williams said she knows the importance of getting in front of students early on, which is why she would love to visit classes and share resume skills, work ethic and expectations from an employer standpoint.

“We want to set them up for success,” she said.

Williams said she looks for drive and initiative when speaking with potential employees.

“Nothing we do here is rocket science,” she said. “Everyone starts off on a basic level and it’s a lot of hands on training.”

Williams said shift workers only need a high school diploma and to be 18-years-old in order to be considered. The company offers a starting salary of $11 hour and has two shifts with multiple positions open.

“The earlier we start planting those seeds of the possibilities here, the better,” Williams said.

Blown away at the potential for recent graduates, the group then traveled to Steward Machines, where they were greeted by Operations Manager Tom Keane.

Steward Machines has been in business since 1904 and supplies large components that must be shipped by barge to all 50 states.

The company explained that they are also accepting students with a high school diploma who are 18-years old or older that have a good work ethic.

Most of the work required demands a background in welding with huge opportunities to grow and master the craft.

The group saw some of the current projects Steward Machines is working on such as a metal piece for a dam.

With applications in tow for potential students in mind, the group then headed to Southwest Georgia Farm Credit for lunch, where they were greeted by David Blenker, VP of Operations at A-1 Industries of Georgia.

Blenker explained that A-1 Industries is currently housed in a temporary location, while their permanent location is being built. The employees hired at the temporary location will play an integral role, when transitioning to the new building.

Like other industries visited, applicants need to be 18 –years-of-age and have a high school diploma. However, A-1 Industries is also a second chance employer for students who may have slipped up along the way.

The starting salary is $12 an hour with bonus and career advancement opportunities.

The final stop of the day was Danimer Scientific, where each group was walked through the facility to see how the product was made.

Chief Operating Officer Michael Smith was excited to have the opportunity to work with educators on developing the future workforce of Bainbridge.

“My favorite part about this experience was showing them the cool technology that exists in Southwest Georgia,” he said. “We are truly making a biodegradable polymer and walk through that process with them.”

Smith also expressed his passion for showing educators what they needed so they could hire students right out of high school to join their workforce family.

Assistant Superintendent April Aldridge was grateful for all the industry’s help in order to better serve the students of Decatur County.

“I think it was very beneficial and that the presentations and observations will help our teachers, counselors and administrators to have more meaningful conversations with our students,” she said.

In order to begin this immediately, Aldridge has set up an interview date on Wednesday June 16 at 9 a.m. at the Board of Education for their students to interview for open positions at Taurus and A-1 Industries. Students may email Aldridge for more information.