Officials for the THINC College and Career Academy celebrated the beginning of facility’s construction at West Georgia Technical College on Thursday.
Kathy Carlisle, CEO of THINC, held back tears as she thanked the LaGrange, Troup County and school system officials who have supported the project. “This is a great day for us and marks a new day for students in Troup County,” Carlisle said. “For so long we could only picture this and now we are seeing this happening. It’s a very exciting project.”
She noted the long road the academy has taken since it began as a strategic planning initiative to boost Troup County’s graduation rate and competitiveness for new industries. After an 108-person steering committee set the goals and plans in motion for a college and career academy, Carlisle and others who came to the board carried the idea to reality.
THINC opened partially this year as a facilitator of the school system’s work-based learning programs. It is scheduled to open next fall as a stand-alone facility that high school students can attend to learn more focused career- and college-based programs.
Mellissa Rowland, a current West Georgia Technical College student, said she entered into the certified nursing program with her certified nursing assistant certification in place because of dual enrollment. She attended college courses while still in high school, and the opportunity has put her ahead of others.
Josh Kelley, a student at Callaway High School, said that his participation in work-based learning has given him a heads up not only on job skills, but in how he should behave in the business world.
“Today is about the idea turning into a reality,” said John Asbell, chairman of THINC Board of Directors. “It’s just the beginning and we are very excited.”
To ceremonially note the beginning of construction and remodeling at the WGTC facility, Carlisle, Troup County School System Superintendent Cole Pugh and WGTC Provost Perrin Alford used golden hammers to strike nails. They were surrounded by representatives from companies and groups that have contributed to THINC.