CAT Night Gets Students THINCing About Career Pathways

March 16, 2015

Sparks were flying when students and parents visited LaGrange’s Caterpillar facility for CAT Night, March 9. From welding to painting, Troup County 9th through 12th graders were able to get a first-hand look at some of the jobs at Caterpillar as they viewed presentations and toured fabrication and assembly areas. THINC College and Career Academy created the event as a way for students to learn more about becoming work-ready after high school and meeting the demands of local employers like Caterpillar.

“For more than 85 years, Caterpillar has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change. Here in LaGrange, you are the future legacy of the Caterpillar workforce,” Caterpillar Forest Products President Kevin Thieneman told students.

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CAT Night was the perfect example of how THINC is extending learning beyond the traditional classroom, with authentic workplace curriculum. While still attending their regular high school, THINC students receive personalized instruction through courses and internships with dual/college credit opportunities available. THINC keeps students on the path toward high school graduation and helps ensure they are college and career ready, experienced and work-savvy.

In cooperation with THINC and West Georgia Technical College, Caterpillar is sponsoring a Dual Enrollment Welding Program, which was introduced during the CAT Night presentation. Combining high school and college coursework with on-the-job training, the program is designed to provide qualified students with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become a skilled welder. The program offers a two-year plan for eligible juniors and a one-year plan for eligible seniors. It also allows these students to apply for paid Caterpillar Welding internships, and upon graduation they would be qualified to apply for a full-time Welder I position at Caterpillar in LaGrange.

“Thanks to Caterpillar, this is an incredible opportunity for high school students to have a definitive career path, get the hands-on skills they need and upon graduation, be ready to work,” said THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle. “Programs like this, as well as other pathways available at THINC, allow students to explore their career-related interests while still in high school and ultimately find a life pursuit they’re passionate about and ready for straight out of high school.”