(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Northwest Georgia high school students explored industrial career pathways and educational opportunities during Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Industrial Career Day on Friday, Oct. 7, at the Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton.

The event is the first Industrial Career Day that GNTC has hosted this academic year. A second one will take place at the Floyd County Campus in Rome on Oct. 28. The events are designed to give students insight into the benefits of learning a skilled trade.

“Students need to see all of the available options that they can take advantage of post-high school,” said Julie Stokes, an Alternative Education program teacher for Dalton Public Schools.

Approximately 200 students from Calhoun High School, Christian Heritage School, Dade County High School, Dalton Academy, Gordon Central High School and Sonoraville High School attended the event.

Industrial program directors discussed their programs and provided tours of their labs. There were demonstrations and hands-on learning activities for the industrial programs offered by GNTC.

Philip Shirley, instructor of Precision Machining and Manufacturing at GNTC, was one of the instructors who described what skills students learn in their courses.

Shirley explained that much as Michelangelo saw a statue when he looked at a rock, a machinist sees a part inside a chunk of metal. The machinist’s job is to cut out that part, he said, and then he showed how machines in the lab fabricate parts.

“To have such high-tech equipment at GNTC is a gift to our community and to our students,” Stokes said.

Julian Aguilar, a junior at Sonoraville High School, knew a little about industrial maintenance before touring the lab at GNTC.

“Today’s visit confirmed my interest and gave me more information than I had,” Aguilar said.

The industrial labs are housed side by side on Industrial Row on the Whitfield Murray Campus. This provided a centralized location with access to all of the industrial labs on the Dalton campus.

Featured GNTC industrial programs included Automation Engineering Technology, Construction Management, Diesel Equipment Technology, Flooring Production Technician, Industrial Systems Technology, Precision Machining and Manufacturing, and Welding and Joining Technology.

“Events like these are game changers for the students, their families and our area high schools,” said Jason Gamel, director of recruitment at GNTC. “Students learn more about our industrial programs as they make decisions about their futures.”

GNTC helps students lock in on their futures and make a difference, Gamel said.