Stu­dents with Project Suc­cess cel­e­brate at the HON Com­pany.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick Edi­tor

Of­fi­cials from around Polk County and The HON Co. gath­ered to cel­e­brate sev­eral stu­dents who fin­ished up a pro­gram to help them find a job af­ter their grad­u­a­tion from high school over the week­end.

Though The HON Co. won’t be hir­ing ev­ery sin­gle grad­u­ate of Project Suc­cess in 2017, they have hired sev­eral in the past, and this year they have 11 par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gram to choose from.

Se­niors f r om Cedar­town and Rock­mart High Schools re­ceived cer­tifi­cates and $250 bonuses from the com­pany for grad­u­at­ing from the pro­gram this year as they worked both a job and went to classes dur­ing high school.

Project Suc­cess, which has pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity for the past three years, con­tin­ues to grow ac­cord­ing to Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy pres­i­dent Katie Thomas.

“It’s a phe­nom­e­nal ex­pe­ri­ence to be able to come see these kids, who not only met grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments, but over­came many ob­sta­cles to get here and on top of that ded­i­cated them­selves to a pro­gram that re­quired a lot of sac­ri­fice,” she said.

Thomas said stu­dents have been work­ing 20 hours at HON since they started the pro­gram and earned a pay­check while also keep­ing up with their stud­ies for the year.

“We’re ex­tremely proud of our kids, and ex­tremely grate­ful for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of HON and GNTC in this pro­gram,” Thomas said.

HON Com­pany’s Clay Cooper also had high praise for the grad­u­ates in 2017, who get a pay­check as well as dual en­roll­ment cred­its through Ge­or­gia North­west­ern Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

“We’re set­ting stu­dents up for suc­cess no mat­ter what ca­reer they choose,” he said. “But for a pro­gram like this to suc­ceed, ev­ery­one has to have skin in the game.”

He said that with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion between HON, GNTC and Polk School Dis­trict, the trio wouldn’t be able to make the pro­gram work.

“We’re thrilled to be able to in­vest in be­ing able to build the next gen­er­a­tion of skilled work­ers in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

Cooper added that three par­tic­i­pants were hired each year in 2015 and 2016, and they ex­pect to hire more this year.

Thomas said Polk School Dis­trict is in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing the pro­gram with other busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity, and only needs those busi­nesses to de­cide to join forces for train­ing lo­cal stu­dents to be part of the fu­ture work force.

“We want to be able to in­vest back into our com­mu­nity and pro­vide the work force that our lo­cal busi­nesses need,” Thomas said. “That’s our goal, and we’d like to see it ex­pand into other busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity.”

Sim­ply put, Thomas said all it takes is a phone call to the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and a pro­gram can be specif­i­cally tai­lored to each busi­ness.

Kevin Myrick / Stan­dard Jour­nal

Project Suc­cess grad­u­ates line up af­ter get­ting cer­tifi­cates and a $250 bonus check from The HON Co. for fin­ish­ing up the pro­gram in a cel­e­bra­tion held on May 24.

Kevin Myrick / SJ

Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy CEO Katie Thomas speaks dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion.

Kevin Myrick / SJ

HON Co.’s Brad Huf­ford speaks to Project Suc­cess.

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