Thomasville’s WBL offers on-the-job training for life

By Carolyn Drinkard

Special to The Watchman

The Work-Based Learning Program at Thomasville High School is a component of Career Technical Education. The popular program has enrolled 67 students this year, with paid on-the-job training and voluntary internships.

For Work-based Learning to succeed, students must be able to find jobs. That has never been a problem in Thomasville! Employers have stepped forward to hire these students because they have learned that the students are a good investment. These students have skills that lead to higher efficiency and create a better-trained workforce, which, in turn, encourages business growth and productivity.

Drue Lyles works as an intern for Dr. Huey Kidd.

Drue Lyles works as an intern for Dr. Huey Kidd.

For the Thomasville community, students in work-based learning pump much needed tax revenue into the local economy. In fact, state reports have shown that Thomasville’s WBL students added over a quarter of a million dollars to the local economy last year. Both employers and community members develop confidence in Thomasville’s schools as they work and develop relationships with these students.

“The Work-based learning program is an example of what makes Thomasville
great,” said Chuck Alford, principal at THS. “The cooperative effort between school and community affords our students work experience and training that will benefit them long after their high school days.”

Ernest Curry of Walgreens says that his participation in the program has been a “win-win” experience. “This program has been a God-send for our business. The quality of students that we get is very high. Our customers know these kids, and they have relationships with them and support them. I feel like we’re working with the community to mold the future of these youngsters, and this is what our country needs to do!”

Hayden Megginson works as an intern at Thomasville Elementary School.

Hayden Megginson works as an intern at Thomasville Elementary School.

Gina Wilson, Director of the Thomasville Public Library, agrees. One of her past volunteers has now earned a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Alabama. Two of her former workers have found college jobs, based on their work experiences in Thomasville. One is working at the University of Alabama Library and the other is at the Auburn University Library. Still another student is employed at the Public Library in Livingston.

“We have loved each student that has worked here,” said Wilson. “They bring a fresh perspective to our staff. Also, our customers enjoy seeing those THS shirts here in the library. I would encourage any employer to use these students.”

Kay Larrimore, who has been honored for her management of the local program, stated, “There are so many great employers in Thomasville, who, along with our hard working students, have made this program a success! The students do what they are supposed to, and they work very hard. I have to say that the businesses in our community and our students are the keys to the success of Thomasville High School’s Work-Based Learning Program.”

Katie Parrish works with Lee's Kloset as part of her Work-Based Learning experience.

Katie Parrish works with Lee’s Kloset as part of her Work-Based Learning experience.

The WBL Program also offers benefits to Thomasville City Schools. Work-based learning experiences invigorate learning, and students in WBL are more likely to stay in school and graduate.

The Work-Based Learning Program offers many benefits for everyone involves. “We are so excited to give these students the opportunity to participate in this program,” added Chuck Alford.

For more information about the benefits of this program, call the Career Technical Director’s office at 334-636-4451 or log onto www.thomasvilleschools.org.