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The Georgia Education Experience

The way students learn is changing - and we're changing with them.

"Building a sustainable, well-trained workforce is critical for the success of businesses and communities in our state. We are committed to providing a pathway to opportunity for Georgia students."

- Joseph Lillyblad

School is back in session – and I couldn’t be more proud of Georgia Power’s involvement in education in Georgia. Talent is one of our greatest resources and for many high school students, the decisions around post-secondary choices can be overwhelming. Imagine, however, being able to test-drive a career. Students can do exactly that through experiential learning, a hands-on approach where high schoolers can explore careers and enhance skills that can’t be refined in the classroom.

Also called work-based learning, experiential learning is defined as learning technical, academic and employability skills by working in a real work environment (National Research Center for Career & Technical Education). Taking the form of internships, co-ops, job shadowing and apprenticeships, experiential learning is paying big dividends in Georgia, with 99.5% of work-based learners graduating on time. The benefits may surprise you:

  • Students are more engaged and academically focused, and ultimately better prepared for transition into the workforce, college or technical school. They are connecting the dots on where their education can lead. Students are exploring career options and defining their future career paths – often while earning a paycheck!
  • School administrators see improved student motivation, attendance and graduation rates. Research shows that at-risk students are more likely to establish postsecondary education plans if they are involved in experiential learning. And, school systems also reap the benefits having access to resources, facilities and mentors within the business community.
  • Employers experience reduced recruitment and training costs. They also hire better prepared employees who have an understanding of workplace expectations and advancement options. Most importantly, they are able to keep a pulse on the current and future talent pipelines.

There are numerous success stories all across Georgia. The Coffee County School System launched a STEAM Summer Internship program to help grow the community’s workforce, expose students to local companies, and connect them with opportunities in Coffee County after college graduation. A variety of local companies serve as hosts, and students and employers are matched based on their interests.

And in the Greater Atlanta area, Year Up offers a one-year, intensive training program that provides young adults with a combination of hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, and internships at top companies.

To build a future talent pipeline, Frito-Lay Company worked with Houston County Schools to develop industrial maintenance and apprenticeship programs. After completing the industrial maintenance program at HCCA, students are eligible to apply for Frito-Lay’s apprenticeship program. Accepted students are paired with Frito-Lay mentors and can continue their industrial maintenance education at Central Georgia Technical College, earning an Industrial Systems Associate Degree.

Similarly, Southwire Company and Carroll County School System created an industrial education curriculum where students have the opportunity to earn two credits per semester while working. The 12 for Life curriculum uses traditional textbooks for a work-based learning class, as well as a work ethics program designed by TCSG.


Learn more about experiential learning models through Georgia’s Workforce Toolkit at WWW.GAWORKFORCE.ORG/EXPLEARNING []. The toolkit features 19 case studies, authored by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute and commissioned by Georgia Power Company, and includes best practices and tips on how to build these highly successful programs in your community.

Let’s grow Georgia together. []