Pathway courses preparing students for the workforce

News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O'clock / Jan. 26, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Richmond County is not the only school system offering job skills from in demand career fields.

"This is what I know, and that's what I teach them," said Thomas Wilson, welding instructor at Evans High School.

Step into Thomas Wilson's welding class at Evans High School, you'll find a whole host of things.

"We do mig, tig, stig, aluminum, stainless steel, pipe, plate," explained Wilson.

And the list goes on.

"We build grills, fire pits have been popular, the signs that we make have been popular," said Heather Lykins, Senior students at Evans High School.

Projects completed at the hands of students like Heather Lykins.

"I definitely want to do welding," said Lykins.

That's what classes like this one are preparing her to do. Gain skills before stepping into the workforce.

"It's pretty much anything hands on that our kids will want to do when they graduate," said Penny Jackson, Columbia County's Assistant Superintendent.

It's better known as career technical and agricultural courses. Columbia County offers 28 programs. Richmond County offers 34 ranging from welding to cyber security education.

"You're now truly preparing for work-based learning opportunities, move on when ready opportunities," explained Jackson.

And now, it's about to get easier for employers to connect with these students. Georgia Department of Education rolled out a new website called the Georgia Career Pipeline Tool. Employers can search by county and find out what classes are offered at each school and even how well each student performed.

"It keeps us accountable knowing that it's out there, and you want to be competitive and be the best of the best," said Jackson.

And meet the needs of the community.

"When they leave here, they can go straight into the workforce," said Wilson.