C.H.S. SENIORS SIGNING contracts to participate in a paid apprenticeship with Koyo Bearings are seated, l-r, Joel Moore, Jackson Law and Diaz Farlin Jr.; standing, Kody Johann, Koyo H.R. supervisor; Todd Sloan, Koyo draftsperson; Marty Drew, Koyo manufacturing manager; Shannon Hendrixson, Koyo electronics technician; Josh Heady, Koyo machine shop team leader; and C.H.S. Work Based Learning coordinator Michelle Ausley.
A special signing day for three Cairo High School seniors Tuesday marked the beginning of a partnership between the school and one of the largest employers in Grady County.
The students signed contracts to work as paid apprentices at Koyo Bearings in Cairo. The event was held in connection with Breakfast on Broad, the bimonthly gathering hosted by the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce. Seniors Diaz Farlin Jr., Jackson Law and Joel Moore were backed up by their Koyo mentors as they signed the contracts.
Farlin and Law started working with the company this semester and will continue through graduation in the spring. Moore is joining the company after Christmas.
“This is the most wonderful, super, excellent morning,” said Michelle Ausley as she welcomed the crowd. Ausley is coordinator of the C.H.S. Work Based Learning program, which is overseeing the apprenticeship project.
Mr. Chris Lokey, principal of C.H.S., agrees it was a good day for the school and community. “It is not uncommon for us to have the opportunity to celebrate with our students in signing letters of intent to participate in athletics at the collegiate level. It is my hope that we will have more days like this one, when we can celebrate academics and internships. I’m extremely proud of these students and look forward to the relationship between our school and local industry expanding and prospering for years to come,” Lokey said.
Ausley pointed out that the students are gaining “excellent experience” in their job while also continuing their school work.
According to Kody Johann, human resources supervisor for Koyo’s Cairo plant, Farlin works in the plant’s machine shop with team leader Josh Heady and draftsperson Todd Sloan. “Diaz has worked on projects that include building and developing tooling, designing plant layouts for new equipment, and measuring components using gauging equipment. He works three hours each morning, and then attends classes the remainder of the day,” Johann says.
Ausley pointed out that Farlin reports to work each day at 6 a.m.
Law has worked with electronic technicians in Koyo’s maintenance department, and his mentor is Shannon Hendrixson. Johann says, “Jackson has worked on projects that include electrical power distribution, equipment installation and relocation, and assisting with troubleshooting electrical systems. He attends classes in the mornings, and works for us four hours each day.”
Moore will work in the maintenance department beginning with the spring semester.
Ausley told the crowd that she hopes such partnerships with other local industries will grow out of this experience. “We’re trying to take care of who we have here and to support them. We’re here to create and help with curriculum of what you need in your industry or business,” she said.
Scott Cline, plant manager of Koyo, has said of the apprenticeship program, “Our partnership will provide students with an opportunity to develop skills that local manufacturers like Koyo need to be competitive.”
Ausley says if the employer and student agree to continue their partnership that the business may even pay for the student to continue their education in college.
The signing was held at Dark Horse Java on South Broad Street at 7:30 a.m. All three seniors are on the drafting and engineering curriculum pathway at Cairo High School College and Career Academy. Also on hand for the event was Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools, Mr. Lokey, Trey Gainous, executive director of the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce, Julian Brown, executive director of the Grady County Joint Development Authority, along with other local school officials, business and civic leaders.