Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) alumnus Ryan Fincher of Cedartown won the bronze medal in the China International Welding Competition 2018 in Beijing, China.
The competition took place July 22-31. Fincher was selected to be the American representative at the competition in China by the American Welding Society (AWS). There were representatives from China, Mongolia, Korea, Russia, Australia, and other countries at the competition.
“I was nervous, but it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said Fincher. “It was a very eye opening experience how the people in China treat their guests. They have a lot of hospitality.”
Fincher’s trip to China was part of his preparation to compete in the four part Team USA Welder Selection competition that decides which SkillsUSA welder will represent the U.S. in the international WorldSkills Competition that takes place every two years.
Fincher said that the international trip helped him learn some tips and techniques that he thinks will make him a better welder.
“Everything was metric at the competition in China,” said Fincher. “U.S. welders measure wire feed speed in inches per minute, there it was millimeters per minute, so I was having to convert all of my work from standard to metric.”
As a GNTC student, Fincher won the gold medal in the Welding Competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2017 and became the college’s first ever national champion. Fincher graduated from GNTC in 2017.
“The Welding and Joining Technology program at GNTC helped prepare me not only for these competitions, but also for the real world,” said Fincher.
Fincher was also a top six finalist for American Welding Society’s U.S. Invitational Weld Trials in 2017. The Weld Trials are part of the American Welding Society’s process to select the SkillsUSA World Team Welder, who will be the U.S. representative in the international WorldSkills Competition against the best welders from around the globe.
The next WorldSkills Competition will take place Aug. 22-27, 2019, in Kazan, Russia.
Every two years, the AWS invites the top 48 welding competitors from the National SkillsUSA Championships to compete in a four-stage competition that will decide the SkillsUSA World Team Welder. All competitors were state champions and have competed at the national level for SkillsUSA.
The first stage of the Team USA Welder Selection competition begins with the AWS U.S. Invitational Pre-Trials. Contestants are given a set of WorldSkills welding projects to complete in their home states. The projects are then sent to the AWS Skills committee that will choose the top six for the next stage.
The top six pre-trial finalists then compete for the top three positions at the AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials.
The SkillsUSA World Team Welder will be selected from the top three finalists at the AWS TeamUSA Finals and will receive a $40,000 scholarship in addition to representing the U.S. at the WorldSkills Competition.
Participants must be active SkillsUSA members who are enrolled in, or have graduated, from a welding program and must be younger than 23 during the year of the WorldSkills Competition.
Fincher is the only top six finalist from 2017 that will still be under 23 when the 2019 WorldSkills Competition takes place, which is why he was selected by the AWS for the competition in China. Fincher is currently competing in the pre-trials to select the 2019 SkillsUSA World Team Welder and the top six finalists will be announced on Oct. 15. The competition to select the top three finalists will take place Dec. 3-9.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
We’re ready for you! See you at the INDUSTRIAL CAREER DAY TOMORROW (Sept. 21) on the FCC!
HAAS, Jeffreys Manufacturing Donate $17,500 To Georgia Northwestern
(Dalton, Georgia) – With graduates of Georgia Northwestern Technical College manning the machines at Densmore Machine in Dalton, Georgia on a daily basis, it’s easy to see where donations to the region’s largest college actually go in the end. Industry and local leaders stopped in at Densmore Machine on July 17 to celebrate a special gift from an industry leader.
After committing $20,000 to Phil Shirley’s Machine Tool Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College in 2016, Jeffreys Manufacturing Solutions has presented the college with the Gene Haas Scholarship award for the second straight year. This time, the industrial machining giant donated $17,500 to the college’s program, benefitting the college’s program and the workforce it’s training.
The Gene Haas Foundation Machining Technology Scholarship is awarded to institutions which teach Machine Tool Technology and similar areas of study. The primary goal of the award is to help ease the financial burden of qualified students, allowing them to successfully complete their education and earn employment within their expertise.
“It’s all about the workers,” said Jimmy Densmore, Densmore Machine Operations Manager. “We have one man working the HAAS equipment right now that is a recent graduate of Georgia Northwestern. I’m also a graduate of Georgia Northwestern. The Machine Tool program at the college is a lot like our business. We need to be able to prepare for work that needs to be done or we go out of business.”
Densmore graduated from Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Drafting Technology program. “I realized that working in my family’s business, I could use that drafting education to help us grow,” said Densmore. “I could draw up parts companies were ordering in 3-D. Then, I could have the machines make the parts to order.”
Two decades after first opening its doors, Densmore Machine would take a new direction. Starting out in a modest 4,500-square-foot building in the Dawnville Community of Whitfield County, this family-owned business made a decision. The economic collapse of the housing industry nearly a decade ago pushed companies across the country, including Densmore, to look at things with a whole new perspective.
“We learned we would have to be able to do a lot of things for a lot of companies to survive,” said Densmore. “It would require new equipment to do jobs we never had to do before. Jobs which required machines we never had to purchase before. We’ve been buying machines from HAAS ever since as the workload demands it. Of course, a change like that requires trained staff. We know GNTC’s Machine Tool program works closely with HAAS. It’s really kind of a partnership.”
A company that thrives today on the coming together of companies, a college, and a workforce, was little more than an idea just 33 years ago. One born in the mind of Densmore’s Grandfather, John Densmore, Sr. Shortly before the current Operations Manager was born, his grandfather made the decision to go into business for himself. With all the money he could gather, Densmore, Sr. hit the road to Detroit, Michigan to a closed down auto plant. It was there he would purchase the North Georgia company’s first two pieces of equipment.
Today, three generations of Densmore machinists later, the company has grown from its original rural machine shop in the outskirts of Dalton, Georgia to a 12,500-square foot facility right on Interstate 75 in South Whitfield County. Georgia Northwestern offers campuses in Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus), Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), and Rock Spring (Walker County Campus.)
GNTC offers more than 200 programs online and on-campus. Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
Learning Mechatronics Through State’s Registered Apprenticeship Program
(Walker County, Georgia) – “We want to push major manufacturing and the jobs that come with it back into the United States,” said Scott Brown, Roper Corporation President. “With this apprenticeship program, we are planning to advance the skill sets of our workforce.” Brown and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) President Pete McDonald met to sign on the dotted line on a three-year Registered Apprenticeship project to train the next era of skilled workforce at the Northwest Georgia manufacturing giant.
Beginning in the 2017-18 academic year, GNTC will sponsor the new apprenticeship agreement with Walker County, Georgia’s largest employer. The pilot year of the apprenticeship project will begin with selected workers of Roper’s 1,800-strong workforce heading to GNTC’s Catoosa County Campus in Ringgold, Georgia. “We are going to be sending our workers to train in the college’s Mechatronics program,” said Scott Lee Reece, Roper Corporation Organizational Development Leader. GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus currently takes part in two other registered apprenticeships with Mohawk Industries and The HON Company. In those two cases, however, it’s the companies that are sponsoring the projects.
With “Baby Boomers” at Roper, as well as throughout the nation’s workforce, planning to head off into retirement, companies now face a tough task. They hope that either they will find the skilled workforce they need from within their communities or provide their current staff with the next generation training needed to fill the gaps. “Our workforce is aging,” added Alan Lyles, Roper Corporation Maintenance Team Leader For Assembly. “There aren’t enough workers available that have the skill sets we need now and in the near future. So, with the help of this apprenticeship program, we’ve decided to train some of our own.” With more than 1,800 in its workforce, the Roper Corporation is Walker County, Georgia’s largest employer. This major component of G.E.’s Appliance Division is also one of the largest employers across the Tennessee Valley.
The shortage companies of all sizes are facing is what the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) calls the Labor Skills Gap. The bureau’s most recent numbers show that job openings have increased nationwide. However, at the same time, the number of new hires made by companies around the country has decreased. The percentage of skilled labor available in the U.S. has steadily decreased every year since 2010. That’s where the Georgia Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program steps in.
“With the shortage of people having the right skill sets in some industries, this is a great way for a company to hire beginning workers and equip them with what they’ll need to perform well,” said Dr. Mindy McCannon, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Vice President of Academic Affairs. “They’ll get the knowledge for their expertise from their coursework at the college. Then, they will get to apply what they’ve learned when they return to their company through the guidance of a journeyman. Apprenticeship is an idea that has been around for a long time. But now, it is getting renewed interest because of the skills gap we are facing.”
The Technical College System of Georgia, which GNTC is a unit of, is helping provide this occupation-related instruction to qualified candidates in Georgia’s workforce. “Georgia Northwestern has been a fantastic test pilot for the Registered Apprenticeship program,” said Sarah Henderson, Regional Apprenticeship Coordinator for Georgia WorkSmart. The program can also help employers recruit and target employees eligible for the program. Companies which take part can potentially have access to state and federal assistance towards the apprenticeship process for its workforce. And, for the apprentice, it means a guaranteed raise in pay with each pre-determined benchmark they surpass during the Registered Apprentice process.
When an apprentice completes the Registered Apprenticeship program, they receive assistance with their career in the future, as well. “When an apprentice completes a program, they will get a designation through the Georgia Department of Labor that says they are a registered apprentice,” added McCannon. “That recognition is looked highly upon across many industries. It shows that this person has acquired a certain level of knowledge and skill, as well as put those skill sets to work, successfully. A level that will assure employers that the apprentice has the right set of tools to perform well.”
The Georgia Department of Labor defines apprenticeship as a work-based training method that combines formal instruction with on-site, occupation-related training. Apprentices typically work 30-40 hours per week and receive classroom training through part-time attendance at technical colleges, universities, or approved training providers. Using the apprentice model can help businesses grow their own talent and build a motivated and qualified workforce. Employers use apprentice programs to recruit and train new employees and to upskill their current workforce.
“We are going to do everything we can to help Roper succeed,” said Pete McDonald, President of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. “This is a program that we believe will see a lot of growth in the future. We are hoping to expand this to more and more industries as we proceed.” For more information on the Registered Apprenticeship program, you can contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404-962-4000.
For details on enrolling at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, or to ask questions about any of the more than 200 programs the college offers on-campus or online, call the college at 866-983-4682. If you are interested in applying to GNTC for fall semester, applications are due by July 24. You can also visit the college at GNTC.edu. Plus, the college’s Student Help Centers can help you with any question you have. Visit a Student Help Center on the Catoosa, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, or Whitfield Murray Campuses Monday through Friday between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For additional information, you may also visit GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
(Walker County, Georgia) – Georgia Northwestern Technical College and the Roper Corporation, a division of General Electric, officially entered into an agreement Friday afternoon to launch a “Registered Apprenticeship” program.
Through coordination with Georgia WorkSmart, the state’s apprenticeship program, both GNTC and Roper will begin training apprentices in the Mechatronics program.
What is Apprenticeship in Georgia? The Georgia.org website defines it as, “…a work-based training method that combines formal instruction with on-site, occupation-related training. Apprentices typically work 30-40 hours per week and receive classroom training through part-time attendance at technical colleges, universities or approved training providers. Using the apprentice model can help businesses grow their own talent and build a motivated and qualified workforce. Employers use apprentice programs to recruit and train new employees and to upskill their current workforce.”
Stay tuned for the full story next week on this new partnership between one of the region’s largest employers and the region’s largest college.
(Rome, Georgia) – The Rome Home Builders Association recently honored Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Construction Management students that won gold medals in the statewide SkillsUSA competition in March and will move on to compete in the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 19-23.
The five students that were recognized won first place in the TeamWorks and Cabinetmaking contests in SkillsUSA Georgia and are currently pursuing their associate degrees in Construction Management.
In the TeamWorks competition, a team of four students are required to build a construction project. The team has to build a little structure and utilize carpentry, masonry, plumbing, and electrical skills that demonstrate their ability to work as a team.
Last year’s TeamWorks squad won the gold medal in the statewide SkillsUSA competition in 2016 and went on to place third in the national competition. It was the first year GNTC competed in the TeamWorks category. Two students from last year’s team returned to compete this year.
“We set the standard last year, so if we didn’t win the gold medal at Atlanta this year it would’ve been disappointing,” said Barry Arrington of Calhoun, GNTC TeamWorks member.
All five students were presented with a check for $100 by the Rome Home Builders Association. Students that were recognized included Barry Arrington, Shawn Clark, Bo Dooley, and Noah Wilson (TeamWorks); and Branton Bailey (Cabinetmaking).
Also announced during the meeting, the RHBA is going to start a scholarship for GNTC students working towards the completion of a degree or diploma in a construction-related program on the Floyd, Gordon, or Polk campuses.
Chartered in 1956, the Rome Home Builders Association is comprised of local members of the building industry and its affiliates. The Association serves as the voice of the building industry to provide affordable, quality housing and home ownership by supporting our members and the community.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
Revolution Begins At Home For GNTC Student, Kazakhstan native
(Northwest Georgia) – Nikita Kovalevskiy is half a planet away from his homeland, Kazakhstan. The world’s largest landlocked nation is home to more than 17 million people. That’s about 16,930,000 more people than where he now calls home: Walker County, Georgia. What’s more amazing is how this Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) student ended up in the United States.
Today, “Nikita’s” homeland is under the microscope for everything from controversial religious laws to human rights violations. But since leaving the old Soviet republic, Nikita has spent the past eight years in a new land, more than 10,000 miles away from Auliekol, Kazakhstan, his birthplace. Major changes may be on the way in the old country, but this 26-year-old Industrial Electrician student at GNTC is making his own changes towards a better life right here in the Peach State.
For the past seven years, Nikita has worked for Shaw Industries Plant 67 in LaFayette, Georgia. Currently, Nikita is a machine operator for the flooring giant. And now, with several years under his belt with Shaw, he hopes to go after his next career within his plant. “I decided to enroll at the Catoosa County Campus in Ringgold,” said Nikita. “They have an Industrial Electrician certificate I want to earn. It will help me have a chance to advance. Whatever it takes to make things better, that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Catoosa County Campus of Georgia Northwestern opened its doors to students officially for the Fall 2016 semester. The Ringgold, Georgia site is the college’s sixth campus in operation in Northwest Georgia. The other campuses are located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield County, Georgia.
Industrial Systems Technology instructor Matthew Sosebee teaches the coursework for Nikita and all of those attending the Catoosa County Campus for work within the Industrial Systems Technology program. “Mr. Sosebee is a pretty good teacher,” said Nikita. “He is really good at explaining what we need to learn. If there is anything you don’t know about the material, he is really helpful and makes sure you understand.”
Understanding one another is what Nikita can vouch for, first-hand. “When we first met in Kazakhstan, I was trying to teach her Russian,” said Nikita of his California-native wife. “She was there working with the Peace Corps when we first met. I was just 19 at the time. But, we became good friends and got to know each other.”
In 2009, he made the decision to pack his things and head to a new place. One that would ultimately give him a new lease on life. It would be in LaFayette, Georgia that Nikita and Chelsea would become husband and wife. The two would begin their young family in 2013 when their son, Nikolai, was born. Then, their daughter, Anna, came along two years later.
Nikita was still a toddler himself when Kazakhstan declared its independence from the now disbanded Soviet Union. As a youngster who grew up just a couple of hours from Russia, Nikita and his friends had plenty of dreams.
“I remember wanting to play professional basketball when I grew up,” said Nikita. “Your dreams change as you get older. I’m looking forward to what’s next after I finish college. But, I do miss some things from back home from time to time.”
Among the things he misses, Nikita says one of his mother’s recipes is near the top of the list. Among the dishes he listed was his mother’s Shashlik. The closest relative to it on the American Menu is a Shish Kebab; a skewer of grilled lamb, pork, or beef. Nikita still speaks with his family back home a couple of times each week.
Not so long ago, this 20-something father of two had once hoped for an opportunity just like the one he has in front of him today. One that would allow him to make his mark in the world.
From one young Peace Corps worker learning the language of her future husband, to an industrial technology instructor making sure a student from overseas is prepared better than ever for his future, Nikita Kovalevksiy and his family truly “understand” what it takes to make a dream come true.
For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Industrial Systems Technology program, you can call 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.
Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.