Student Apprenticeships bring opportunity

A focus of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce QuEST (Quality Education Strategy Team) Council is the apprenticeship program. As an apprentice, high school students are partnered with local businesses and corporations. The students work under a specific employee/mentor and are often rotated to various departments. The exposure to career opportunities as well as work ethic, day-to-day business operations, employee relations, and skill requirements has proven invaluable to students participating in the program.

North Hall High School graduate Dustin Smith served as an apprentice under Jackson EMC Staking Technician Johnny Mattox from 1998 – 2000. Smith is now a part-time JEMC employee and student at Gainesville College. Smith is pursing a joint degree from Gainesville College and Georgia Tech in Electrical Engineering. “ The apprentice program is a means for students seeking direction in a career field that they may have an interest in,” said Smith. “Working at Jackson EMC and interacting with employees helped me determine my desire for a career in engineering. The program puts students in the work field and offers exposure to Corporate America – so different from sitting in a classroom.” Dustin Smith moved from his apprenticeship into employment and is now a staking technician – meeting with residential customers and assisting in determining means to provide customers power.

Melva Alvarado, Hall County Court System Director of Interpretive Services, began her apprenticeship in Probate Court while attending Johnson High School. Ms. Alvarado stayed with the court system after graduation and currently serves as a full-time coordinator and scheduler of interpreters for non-English speaking individuals that come through the system. In addition, she serves as an interpreter. “As a student, my apprenticeship offered me the opportunity of getting started in a career of my choice. Fortunately, I was able to obtain full-time status after graduation.” Jamila Hunter participated as an apprentice in State Court and now serves as full-time executive assistant to the court administrator. A West Hall High School graduate, Ms. Hunter is a student at North Georgia College and is pursuing a career in international business or the legal field.

To learn more about the QuEST Council apprenticeship program, call Helen Stewart at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, 770-538-0024.