WCCT hosts first signing day

Posted 5/3/19

Some of Walker County's brightest students have secured jobs that will pave their way to a successful future.The Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT) held an inaugural signing day on Thursday. …

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WCCT hosts first signing day


Some of Walker County's brightest students have secured jobs that will pave their way to a successful future.

The Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT) held an inaugural signing day on Thursday. Eight students signed to go straight to work or training after high school, and two other students signed to participate in a summer pre-apprenticeship program.

Thompson Tractor, a Caterpillar dealer, honored four students Thursday.

Carson Gilbert of Jasper High School signed for a full-time position with the company.  

"Carson is getting an outstanding opportunity to make his mark at the dealership and to work his way up," Justin Holmes, Birmingham warehouse manager for Thompson Tractor, said.

Oakman High School senior Kobe Mitchell was awarded a Think Big Scholarship from Thompson Tractor, which will give him two years of college and training, as well as eventual full-time employment. 

"Think Big is a program that Catapiller started, and Thompson is a dealer," Thompson Tractor Shelby County Service Manager Johnny Peterman said. "While he's in school he'll work the co-op program — eight weeks in the shop, eight weeks at school. At the end of the two-year period, he'll graduate with an associate's degree in diesel technology and will have a pretty good job."

"I went and interviewed with them ... and it ended up that I got the job," Mitchell told the Daily Mountain Eagle. "I'm very excited."

Juniors Jainy Booth of Cordova High School and Chase Owens of Oakman High School signed to participate in a pre-apprenticeship program this summer. Peterman said Booth and Owens will get experience in each division of the company.

After signing day, Booth told the Eagle that she is excited to one day work in diesel tech, primarily on engines.

Peterman said that 50 percent of students that have participated in the pre-apprenticeship program have went on to have full-time employment with the company. 

"This is an incredible opportunity for these juniors," WCCT Director Chris McCullar said.

Holmes concluded by saying Thompson has a lot of employees from the Walker County area and praised the skill and character of those employees.

Carbon Hill High School senior Cody Hall and Jasper High School senior Cameron Lambert signed with Tulsa School of Welding, and Dora High School student Caleb Romano signed with the U.S. Army. Cameron Billings and Logan Key, both of Oakman High School, signed with Dapa Products, Inc.  

Representatives from Tulsa School of Welding, Dapa Products, Inc., and the U.S. Army did not give speeches during signing day.

Nathaniel Clark of Dora High School signed with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to begin an apprenticeship program this summer and begin the process to become an electrical journeyman through Birmingham Electric JATC.

The company wrote a letter to Clark that states, "After your successful completion of this program, you will have earned $234,000 in wages and benefits and will receive a diploma from the electrical training alliance."

Clark will also earn 54 college credits at Shelton State Community College.

IBEW recognized that Clark placed first in a recent Skills USA contest and presented him with a check for $500 to travel to the national Skills USA competition.

His WCCT instructor, Mark Palmer, said IBEW has helped secure work for over 10 WCCT students over the years.   

"The IBEW has done a lot for Walker County, and they recognize the talent of Walker County," Palmer said.

WCCT Career Coach Shawna McCullar and Director Chris McCullar helped organize signing day, and they expressed appreciation for parents and employees of the Walker County Schools system for attending the event.

"I hope this is the start of something that goes on for a long time," Chris McCullar said. "We're so proud of each and every one of these students."

Instructors Jeff Clark, Michael Craig, Grant Nichols, Ryan Mullinax, Casey Hall, Scott Atkinson and Mark Palmer were all recognized for helping their students succeed and prepare for life after high school. 

A full video of the WCCT signing day can be found on the Daily Mountain Eagle Facebook page.