Campus News

Putnam County Middle School Students Take Part in CGTC, PCHS Welding Program Demo Day

Eatonton, Ga.In order to graduate from Putnam County High School (PCHS), a student must have a Pathway, a sequence of courses aimed at mapping a student’s postsecondary future in Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE), World Languages or Fine Arts. Welding is a CTAE Pathway, and as middle school students found out in the program’s Demo Day in February, they can start on this route earning college credit as high schoolers through Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) and the Move on When Ready (MOWR) Program.

“You can roll into the Welding program for the first time as a ninth grade student and begin earning college credit.” said Katherine Reid, the Youth Empowerment for Success (YES) program manager at PCHS responsible for overseeing dual enrollment.

In the past, students had only been able to start in the tenth grade.

Reid told students at the Demo Day that this is one of the many ways they can earn college credit at PCHS through CGTC. Reid is in charge of a grant-funded program focused on integrated academic & career-focused learning, employer engagement, individualized career and academic counseling, work-based learning, and exposure to the world of work targeted for the successful preparation of high school students for post-secondary life.

Naturally, Reid works closely with Lindsey Powell, CGTC’s high school initiatives coordinator serving Putnam County. Together they help get students into MOWR programs and advise them through the entire process.

On this day, both laid out the qualifications for the program to the middle schoolers and stressed the importance participation can have on their academic, job, and financial futures. They also explained how the potential of earning an Associate’s Degree in Technical Studies, a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) or a Welding and Joining diploma after graduating is generally unheard of.

But selling Welding, college credit, and employability to a group of 7th and 8th-grade students from Putnam County Middle School is not as easy as it may seem.

Insert, Aaron Clark, welding instructor at CGTC for PCHS.

“I’ll go ahead and tell you there is very little book work,” Clark said, to an audience of growing excitement, wide eyes and beaming smiles. “Ninety-eight percent of the time you are going to be in the lab doing something hands-on.”

That statement plus putting on the protective gear and actually working with current MOWR students to weld their initials on 4-inch metal plates “won over” several students, as Clark put it.

Jon Williams, 13, an eighth grade student, said hands-on, college-level technical education is intriguing to him.

“It’s a head start on being able to do and try new things,” he said.

A head start on college credit isn’t necessarily the pinnacle of the program, although tuition is made free to students. The reality is that the course has a fun, practical hands-on curriculum, and combined with everything else it is “bragging rights” heading into their post-secondary careers.

“It is something to take serious, they are getting high school and college credit at the same time,” said Powell, “If you can get into this program, you get to have all this and you get the bragging rights to say, not only am I a high school graduate, but I am someone with an associate’s degree (leading to a Bachelor’s) or someone with a diploma (leading to work) beneath your belt.”

Qualified students will be able to take placement testing and other requirements during the summer should they choose to enroll. To earn an associate’s degree, a TCC, or a diploma students have to adhere and complete the same curriculum standards and requirements of any student enrolled on a campus at CGTC. They have instructors, like Clark, who are employed by the college.

PCHS coordinators and counselors encourage dual enrollment at CGTC, and want as many as possible to commit when they enter as a freshman. In addition to the Demo Day, the Welding program will hold a Welding Summer Inspiration Day-Camp for interested students through funding from Georgia Power on June 5-15, 2017. Fifteen selected campers will participate in the project-based camp with supplies and instruction provided by CGTC and Georgia Power staff.

For more information on CGTC’s MOWR program in Putnam County, contact Lindsey Powell at

During CGTC’s Welding Program Demo Day for Putnam County Middle School Students at Putnam County High School, students received a hands-on experience as to what earning college credit in high school can look like. 

Submitted by JoBen Rivera-Thompson
March 6, 2017


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