Six students dual enrolled in the West Georgia Technical College welding program at the Central Educational Center have accepted internships at Weiler Forestry in LaGrange.
Michael Burns-Barber, Tyler Gibby, Trent Lindsey, Nathan Pierson, Hunter Ross and Jordan Stokley were all in their first semester of the welding program at CEC when they met with Weiler Plant Manager Noah Zehr.
Zehr said he was so impressed with their hard work, dedication and profound work ethic that he offered all of them internships on the spot.
“The strong partnership between Weiler Forestry and West Georgia Tech is helping build the workforce needed to bring more production to our LaGrange facility,” Zehr said. “We are so confident in the welding program and instructors, and we are very excited about these six interns and their futures at Weiler. We know we are getting a good employee with every WGTC student we hire.”
“Weiler Bound” is a partnership between WGTC and Weiler Forestry that allows students to work at Weiler while continuing their welding training at WGTC. The goal of the program is to identify students early in their training who have a strong work ethic and will learn the skills necessary to become successful employees at Weiler.
WGTC welding instructor Joe Pennington said he is proud of his students for earning the internships as first-year students, and that he is thankful for the growing relationship with Weiler.
“We have never brought a group in this early before, but these guys have doubled down on their welding training and have made massive progress,” Pennington said. “We have many other students in line ready to follow in their footsteps. Opportunities like these for the students are what grows our program and make the transition from the classroom to industry as seamless as possible.”
Pennington is currently working with Zehr to set up a “Weiler Bound” welding booth on the CEC campus. The booth will have a Weiler welding machine and a copy of their Welding Procedure Specifications so students can become familiar with Weiler’s specific equipment and processes.
WGTC President Julie Post said she is thankful to Weiler for partnering with WGTC and for putting its trust in the welding program.
“Connecting business needs with skilled employees is at the core of our workforce development mission,” Post said. “Companies like Weiler Forestry provide opportunities for WGTC to do just that, and for our students to get started on fantastic career pathways. ‘Weiler Bound’ students are definitely on an incredible trajectory to high-demand, high-paying jobs, and we are proud of them for taking on the challenge.”
From left, WGTC welding students Michael Burns-Barber, Tyler Gibby, Trent Lindsey, Nathan Pierson, Hunter Ross and Jordan Stokley sign agreements to begin their internships with Weiler Forestry. (Photo courtesy WGTC)