Be Pro Be Proud Promotes the Importance of Skilled Trades

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, an initiative that promotes 15 of Georgia’s most in-demand skilled professions through a hands-on mobile workshop and interactive website, visited 43 cities across Georgia during the 2021-22 school year.

The initiative’s gamified stations allow students to see what it’s like to get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, assemble a PVC pipe, analyze human anatomy through augmented reality, bind metal through a virtual welding experience, explore a career in linework behind the lens of an Oculus VR headset, discover robotics and automation, and test hand-eye coordination through an engaging skills challenge.

As part of the tour, middle and high school students are given the opportunity to “join the movement” to be connected to training and potential employers that need new employees to replenish the diminishing workforce. Of the 13,532 students who toured, nearly 75% (10,129) “joined the movement” – expressing their career plans. Nearly 60% of these students noted they plan to pursue a career in the skilled professions or technical training after graduation.

Will Nichelson, a Creekview High School graduate, discovered his career path during a Be Pro Be Proud visit in 2020. “I knew I wanted to work with my hands, and our school didn’t have many options,” Nichelson said. “I was asked to help on the mobile workshop in 10th grade, and it was cool playing with the simulators. This experience encouraged me to look into welding. I learned that I could go to Chattahoochee Technical College and do welding as a high school student, so I am graduating this year with my welding certifications before I am finished with high school.”

Four new partners joined Be Pro Be Proud Georgia in 2022, including American Home Shield, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Select Cobb and Wellstar Health System. In April, Wellstar Health System joined Be Pro Be Proud as its first health care partner, a field that is projected to grow more than 10% over the next decade.

“As one of the Southeast’s largest healthcare systems, Wellstar looks forward to having this incredible opportunity to expose students to skilled professions in healthcare and navigate them to a successful career through this innovative program,” said Wellstar Vice President of Strategic Community Development Stephen Vault.

Since 2020, Be Pro Be Proud has hosted nearly 24,000 visitors on the mobile workshop, across 43 counties and 238 tour stops.

“The demand continues to grow for skilled workers across our state, and these students are the solution,” said Cherokee Office of Economic Development President Misti Martin. “Programs like Be Pro Be Proud help fulfill essential workforce needs and reach students early while they’re still discovering possible careers.”

In addition to identifying the state’s top skilled professions, Be Pro Be Proud Georgia provides robust training resources — offering a comprehensive list of Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) training programs and costs. Of the 22 technical colleges throughout the state, the mobile workshop has visited more than 15 TCSG territories since launch. Georgia Northwestern Technical College is one of those valued partners.

“Georgia Northwestern Technical College is proud to partner with Be Pro Be Proud in shining a spotlight on all the high-demand careers available in northwest Georgia,” said Amber Jordon, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). “Our mission at GNTC is to provide quality technical education and workforce development opportunities throughout the communities we serve. The goals of Be Pro Be Proud Georgia align perfectly with our mission, and we are so excited that this program will give students the opportunity to experience hands-on simulations and generate awareness and excitement for skilled professions in healthcare, industrial and computer technology fields.”

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Through partnerships with state agencies, local industry and higher education entities, Be Pro Be Proud is effectively working to connect students around the state to high-demand careers, replenishing essential jobs vacated by the retiring workforce.

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