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Effingham County Graduating Seniors Earn Their Workforce PHDs
Mike Ogle, warehouse manager at Halstead, explains how products flow into and out of their facility in Rincon. (Submitted photo)

Special to the Effingham Herald

Seniors at Effingham County’s high schools had an opportunity to explore their options and prepare for future careers last week. Through three days of panel discussions, educational talks and in-person tours, the Workforce PHD (“prepared, hardworking, and dedicated”) program prepares graduates for the world after high school. Workforce PHD is for students who plan to enter the workforce -- and for a variety of reasons – delay or not go to college.

“Effingham County has so many career opportunities and not all of them require a college degree,” says Todd Wall, CEO of the Effingham College and Career Academy. “Thanks to our partners at the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, Savannah Technical College, and local industrial employers, we can show these students what their options are after graduation and how to go about getting a job in industry.”

The first day focused on soft skills, financial literacy, an overview of career possibilities and how to fill out job applications. The second day prepared students for mock job interviews and gave them tours of local companies such as Edwards Interiors, Halstead, Lion Brand Yarn and Georgia Transformer.

“This program showed me that there is a lot of opportunity for me to work in Effingham County when I graduate,” says Wesley King, a senior at Effingham County High School. “I really enjoyed touring the industrial facilities and getting an up-close look at what it would be like to work there.”

On the final day, students participated in speed networking with area employers including Shaw Industries, Pacific Cycle and Georgia-Pacific. 

“I enjoyed hearing about the companies and the jobs in the area during the networking event,” says David Hernandez, a senior at South Effingham High School.  “There were several companies that caught my interest and I look forward to applying there when I graduate.”

Ryder Cary practices his interview skills with classmate Gardenia Peralta.
The Workforce PHD program is a partnership among the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, Effingham College and Career Academy, Savannah Technical College and local employers to give students who are looking to enter the workforce immediately after graduation the same level of support offered to college-bound students.

“We were very impressed with the students who participated in the Workforce PHD program.  They were very professional and because of training they completed while still in high school, some of them had welding experience, which is a skill that we are always looking for,” says Shaneria Vaughns, human resources supervisor at Georgia Transformer.  “Being able to network and learn about the companies in the area is an opportunity that I wish I had when I was in high school.”