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Workforce PhD links seniors to career opportunities
Riley Young
Effingham County senior Riley Young receives a hard hat from Effingham County Industrial Development Authority Vice President Jessica Hood during Thursday's graduation ceremony. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
Workforce PhD
Sporting hard hats they received from Effingham County Industrial Development Authority Vice President Jessica Hood, 2022 Workforce PhD participants pose after a graduation ceremony at Effingham College & Career Academy on Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Two dozen students from Effingham County (ECHS) and South Effingham (SEHS) high schools didn’t wait for career opportunities to knock. They barged through potential barriers and greeted them by participating in the four-day Workforce PhD program at Effingham College and Career Academy (ECCA).

A graduation ceremony was conducted Thursday. Each student received a certificate from their principal — Amie Dickerson (ECHS) or Dr. Torian White (SEHS) — and hard hat from Effingham County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Vice President Jessica Hood.

The IDA and ECCA joined forces in 2021 to establish Workforce PhD in an effort to give seniors a solid foundation to help them gain employment. It was dubbed a success and District Career Technical and Agricultural Education Coordinator Todd Wall opted to make it an annual event.

Workforce PhD topics include resumé building, interview skills, personal budgeting and networking. The program also features a career fair and tours of area industries.

“There are three things that we want out of our students,” Wall said. “We want them to be enrolled (in an institution of higher learning), enlisted (in the military) or employed. In this group here, y’all have already taken that step toward employment.

“You can still do the other two if one day you decide you want to do that but I think it has been awesome that each one of you has showed up here everyday and put forth the effort that you did.

“Last year was our first year doing this — this is our second year — and, guys, I am impressed.”

Wall said officials from some of the Workforce PhD contributors spoke highly of the class of 2022. Contributors included   Savannah Tech, Evans General Contractors, Junior Achievement, Halstead International, Aerodynamic Aviation, Edwards Interiors, Georgia Transformer, Georgia Pacific, Georgia Ports Authority, Pacific Cycle, Gulfstream, Effingham County IDA, ECCA and the Georgia Department of Labor.

“That makes me feel good,” Wall said.

Graduates include Zacchaeus Andrews (ECHS), Madelyn Ayers (SEHS), Aiden Cimadevilla (SEHS), Joseph Cooler, (SEHS), Xayvier Coppack (ECHS), Aedan Croy (SEHS), Tomari Henderson (ECHS), D’Angelo Jackson (SEHS), James Jarmond (ECHS), Gage Jenkins (ECHS), Stone Kessler (SEHS/STEM), Chase Lindquist (ECHS), Teione McAlpine (ECHS), Miguel Mendez (SEHS), Tyrek Morris (ECHS), Hunter Sessions (ECHS), Ryan Sikes (ECHS), River Sosniak-Knight (SEHS), Jayla Turner (ECHS), Michael Vickery (ECHS), Diamond Williams (ECHS), Austin Williamson (ECHS), Daphne Young (ECHS) and Riley Young (ECHS).