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Career academy students get head start

The Liberty College and Career Academy prides itself on providing students with technical-trade skills and career pathways. With the inclusion of the Georgia Department of Labor’s Business Ethics Student Training program in LCCA’s curriculum, students now have one more advantage as they prepare for the workforce.
More than 300 LCCA students earned GeorgiaBEST certificates this year after completing training in 10 work habits identified by employers as crucial to successful job performance: discipline and character; attendance and punctuality; work habits and teamwork; professional image and appearance; self- and time-management; productivity; business communication skills; attitude and respect; responsibility and organization; and community service.
LCCA CEO Tom Alexander said that in developing the career academy’s curriculum, local business leaders and employers stressed the importance of workplace ethics. Alexander said that it’s often the “soft skills” that can make or break a young employee’s career.
“So often these days, people come to be employed, and they might have the credentials, but they can’t work with a group, or they can’t be on time to work, or they don’t know how to keep their cellphones put up,” he said.
“(Local employers) were adamant — ‘We can train the skills in many cases, but we can’t teach them those secondary skills they need to be a good employee every day,’” Alexander continued.
The training is comprised of two parts. Students complete five seminars throughout the semester, learning two standards per seminar. Students also are evaluated on a daily basis by their classroom teachers.
Depending on how well and how consistently students exhibit the skills, they may earn up to three points per standard. A final grade of 25 out of 30 possible points — plus a specified overall grade-point average —will earn a student the GeorgiaBEST certificate.  
Rising LCCA junior Khalil Walthour was one of the 324 students who earned a certificate this year. Walthour said he appreciated learning about skills that employers look for in job candidates and especially enjoyed conducting mock interviews.
“Sometimes, you have people who go in there and automatically just start talking about themselves,” Walthour explained. “So I learned that when you go in there, to be focused on the actual business instead of just yourself, so that way they don’t think, ‘Oh, he’s all about himself and not about the business.’”
Walthour, an amateur photographer, said he was especially thankful for the interview training because he has never experienced a real-life interview before.
“It’s a real good experience to have, to learn about what actually goes on in the industry, because there’s some people who didn’t have this opportunity,” he said.
The GeorgiaBEST program was initiated in 2012 by Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. More than 200 schools and 10,000 students are participating in the program.

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