Success Story

Gaston County Schools creating an advanced manufacturing workforce through career academy

The Golden LEAF funding enabled two advanced manufacturing programs at Gaston County Schools high schools: Bessemer City High School and Hunter Huss High School. “Gaston County Schools internship program supports local manufacturing businesses and has created a Career Signing Day that can place our internship students into full time manufacturing positions upon graduation,” said Dr. Melissa Balknight, Associate Superintendent/ Academic Services for Gaston County Schools.

“The Career Signing Day Ceremony supports the goals of creating an educated workforce and local workforce talent pipeline by promoting these students that go straight into jobs after high school.

Through the Community-Based Grants Initiative, Gaston County Schools was awarded $632,857.47 by the Golden LEAF Board of Directors for the Gaston County Advanced Manufacturing Career Academy. The Career Academy addresses the education and workforce training needs of Gaston County employers by increasing the pipeline of skilled workers prepared for employment through aligning Career and Technical Education (CTE) training and post-secondary education.

Over the three years of the project, 29 CTE students completed the program and graduated, 31 students earned certified production technician (CPT) credentials, 271 students earned Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) credentials, and 91 students earned college credits.

“Every student in the Career Academy programs can earn four CPT certifications and the OSHA safety certification,” said Balknight. After students finish high school, they have options. They can go straight into work or gain more skills, credentials, certificates, and degrees at Gaston College. Golden LEAF’s funding helped expand the Academy in Gaston County to serve new business needs.

Earned Credentials
Community Based Grants Initiative

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