WHITLEY COUNTY — Dalton Poynter, his mother Debbie and administrators from the Corbin Area Technology Center met with executives of Jones Plastics & Engineering in Williamsburg Thursday morning in regards to a new partnership.
Jones Plastics & Engineering and the Corbin Area Technology Center have partnered to start an Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship program for students from Whitley County High School, Williamsburg High School and Corbin High School that attend Corbin ATC. And On Thursday morning the Poynters went to the facility to learn more.
Whitley County High School senior Dalton Poynter said he showed up Thursday because he's curious. This is his third year attending the ATC and he's thinking about furthering his industrial maintenance career.
Corbin Area Technology Center Principal Chris Smith is excited for what's possible with Poytner and others like him.
"I'm grateful to the management of Jones Plastics this opportunity will provide for our area students," Smith said. "This partnership will not only give students who attend the Area Technology Center the opportunity to work while attending school. It will also give them hands-on experience in the field that they have chosen for a career."
Smith is trying to work toward more internships with other facilities in the area. The ATC students have the knowledge that can benefit many local manufacturing plants.
The students can earn dual credit through KCTCS, and get a recognized industry certification, such as AWS certifications for welding ASE for automotive, SRNA, Allied health program, FEMA, criminal justice, EMT/EMS, first responder, just to name a few said Smith.
Once the students earn the certification and graduate high school they can either join the workforce in their chosen field or continue their education. Another one of the benefits of attending the ATC is dual credit. Most of the time the dual credit is paid for using KHEAA funds. If a student attends the ATC they are not missing out on any opportunities to earn college credit, if that is the path that they choose.
The Corbin ATC is a state-operated school meaning the staff teaching the classes has at least five years of experience in the field that they are teaching. On top of that, they are required to earn a degree in Career and Technical Education and pass teaching certification exams.
"It is hard to teach a student how to do one of the skills if you have not professionally done it yourself," said Smith.
Jody Smith, an industrial maintenance instructor at ATC who came along for the Jones Plastics and Engineering visit with the Poynter family, has several years of experience in industrial maintenance and is excited about the partnership between the school and Jones Plastics and Engineering.
Jody Smith is an advocate for Poynter and believes he has a gift in industrial maintenance.
"Dalton is a great student," said Jody Smith. "We are confident that he will be very successful in life. He has gotten a head start on his peers by taking advantage of this opportunity. With help to pay for his college from The Kentucky Career Center located at Corbin ATC to Jones Plastics paying him while attending school, he has a perfect recipe for success."
Poynter's teachers said he already thinks like an engineer and is a natural troubleshooter.
The students will learn about electricity, hydraulics, robotics, pneumatics, and computerized automation both while attending Corbin ATC and while working at Jones Plastics & Engineering.
Bryan Edwards, human resources manager with Jones Plastic & Engineering, noted skill trades were shrinking. He discussed developing student's skills, giving them a good wage and a flexible schedule to where they are training individuals to be valuable resources early on in their careers.
"We cannot say thank you enough to Jones Plastics for this opportunity for the students of Whitley County," said Smith.