One the website, students can take the time to look at different professions and find where their interests lie. From there, they can click on a profession they may be interested in to find more information about the number of those jobs available, who is hiring that kind of worker in Georgia, and how much the average employee makes.
It also shares information on where in the area they can find an educational program that will lead them into that job, how long those educational programs take and how much it would cost.
After directing them to the website, which serves as a tool for students to use while looking at their options after graduation, Callaway sends them off to start interacting with the mobile workstation’s six different simulators.
The stations include:
– A game, where two students touch tiles that light up in two different colors, that teaches hand-eye coordination;
– A welding simulator which challenges students to use a welding tool to combine two pieces of metal shown on a screen in front of them;
– A health care training module, which allows students to take a 3-D tour of the human body;
– A trucking simulator where students use a Logitech wheel and pedals hooked into an Xbox to drive a truck on screen and complete different challenges;
– A game where students attach pipes together on one of the walls of the trailer, working to build from one spot to the other while learning more about the work of plumbers;
– And a table where students can control a small robot and learn more about automation and robotics.
The stations serve as a fun, hands-on way for eighth- to 12th-grade students to learn more about the professions the initiative highlights.
Callaway said the skill sets required in these jobs — such as those in computer programming, commercial truck driving, plumbing, construction, automation and robotics— do not require students to earn a four-year degree. For many of these jobs, students can attend a technical school where they can spend less time and less money in college, which he said makes it a great option for those students who cannot afford to take out student loans.
He said that the global coronavirus pandemic that began last year has reminded many that these jobs are essential across the nation. No matter what happens in the country, a pandemic, recession or changing workforce, these jobs will always be in demand.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in this county or L.A., California,” Callaway said. “If you can do something in one of those five, you’ve got a career.”
The original Be Pro Be Proud initiative was created five years ago in Arkansas, and Callaway explained when others from Georgia showed up to one of the events, they began plans to expand. The initiative began in Georgia in July 2020, and the mobile workstation visited its first school, in Cherokee County, in October.
The visit to Forsyth Central marks one of the first visits to a school in North Georgia as they work to expand the initiative and inform kids all across the state about their options after graduation.
“Let’s let them know the whole spectrum of information, not just half it,” Callaway said.