Lt. Governor Casey Cagle visits THINC

November 4, 2014

On Tuesday, October 28, THINC College and Career Academy, and their partner West Georgia Technical College (WGTC), had the pleasure of having Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle speak about his passion: the importance of College and Career Academies.

Since his inauguration as Georgia’s 11th Lt. Governor in 2006, Cagle has expedited the expansion of College and Career Academies across the state. Indeed, after only one year of Cagle’s term, Governor Perdue signed Cagle’s “Charter School Initiative,” which helped county school systems open charter schools more effectively. His goal was to help open five College and Career Academies by awarding school systems a $125,000 Implementation Grant.

Since 2007, however, Cagle has helped open, not five, but twenty­three.
Thus, to have Cagle speak on the importance of THINC was not only an honor, but a steady

stream of wisdom and anecdotes.

“We have in our state today,” said Cagle, “a real skill scare. If you were to visit industries across Georgia and ask about the troubles they face, you’d hear them say ‘I have jobs, but I can’t find skilled workers to fill those jobs.’”

“Cagle is right,” said Jason Ransbottom, Manager HR & Administration at Hyundai Powertech. “What we’ve noticed is a skill gap between employers and potential employees.”

“We’ve adopted in education a one­size­fits­all model,” continued Cagle. “We’ve sent every kid along the same career paths. But now, looking back, we realize that every kid doesn’t need to be on the same path. We need to help students discover those paths that will propel them into their own future. We need to better equip students for the workforce by helping them realize and reach their dreams.”

And how do educators help a student discover his or her most fitting future? How do they help a student find his or her dream? Cagle’s answer resounded around the sixty plus people in the room: “through multiple pathways, through multiple choices, through multiple opportunities.”

“I have the perfect anecdote to illustrate what I mean. I talked with a young lady from Athens this week, who not only works part time at Burger King, but also strengthens her high school education at a College and Career Academy. Because of her Academy, she will graduate with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. She has already been accepted into the University of Georgia, where she plans to finish her degree in Law.”

Cagle paused, looked around the room, and said, “Think about that for a moment. She gets it. Her school system has allowed her to explore pathways, to find what motivates her, to discover that subject that will enable her to make a difference in the world.”

“And here’s the best part,” Cagle continued, now smiling. “She got that two year degree debt­free. She knows what she’s going do, and now nothing, not even money, stands in her way.”

“Employers, too, receive plenty of new opportunities,” said Ransbottom. “I’ve worked for programs like THINC in the past, and they are excellent for the automotive industry. For one, they bridge the gap between potential employees—especially young ones—and the jobs that are available. What we need now are skilled workers who have some kind of hands­on training.”

“This is a great time for Georgia’s Technical Colleges,” said Perrin Alford, Provost at WGTC, “ a great time for Troup County, for high school kids, for West Georgia folks. Opportunity has come to Troup County, and more good stuff comes our way. We look forward to the day when school buses start pulling up right here at the front door, and THINC students start pursuing pathways designed for them.”