February 17, 2014

President Hamilton opened our meeting centered on part 2 of a 4 part series devoted to specific criteria expected to be pertinent to E-SPLOST IV.  This meeting would focus on CTAE, and a career technical agriculture building.  He introduced HCPOA education coordinator, Mike Buckel, to acquaint members with the purpose and aims of a CTAE program.

Mr. Buckel, using power point, explained the function of CTAE programs, especially those currently available at Hart County High School and those of Anderson, SC.  Hart High School has a full time director and most students participate in some portion of the 12 CTAE programs.  It appears the Hart program is under facilitated and less equipped with technical-vocational equipment.  The Anderson CTAE program, started in 1972, serves 4 high schools and has 18 technical programs.  Their CTAE program has a 98% “job ready” graduation rate and 70% of these students continue in some type of higher education.  The Anderson program encourages participation of business and grant assistance.  The Hart County school program sports a sound basis but would benefit from industrial and corporate partners as well as grant funds to expand programs and their facility.

The presentation concluded with the introduction of our guest speakers.  Ms. Dannette Smith, GA Dept. of Labor, Mr. Mike Jones, Lake Foods, and Mr. Bill Leard, HEMC.  They provided an analysis of employee skills needed in the business market.  Ms. Smith, Regional Coordinator, explained the “Georgia Best” program.  This program, developed with input from business leaders, features business ethics training with such “soft skills” as time management, business ethics, team management, punctuality and more.  It can be taught by current teachers in the classroom to improve student employability.

Mr. Mike Jones, of Lake Foods a new Hart County business, advised his need for Hart employees with technical expertise to use and maintain robotic machinery that employs water pressure to cut and size chicken for the poultry industry.  He confirms the need for skilled personnel with electrical-mechanical skills will continue to grow.

​ Mr. Bill Leard, HEMC, advised the need for a math and science proficient workforce to replace aging and mature workers.  The growth of solar and other energy efficient machinery will require a vastly different skill set and employees will need proficiency across a broader range of expertise.