Georgia education reform may affect jobs

Nov. 13, 2015 - Jesus Vazquez works on a MIG welding assignment in welding lab. He is one of the students at Lanier Charter Career Academy that take a welding class at nearby Lanier Technical College. Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission is considering a request that the Technical College System of Georgia replace its admissions test with one that can create a “job ready” certification for skills, from welding to cosmetology, that could be obtained while in high school through dual enrollment in technical colleges. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

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Nov. 13, 2015 - Jesus Vazquez works on a MIG welding assignment in welding lab. He is one of the students at Lanier Charter Career Academy that take a welding class at nearby Lanier Technical College. Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission is considering a request that the Technical College System of Georgia replace its admissions test with one that can create a “job ready” certification for skills, from welding to cosmetology, that could be obtained while in high school through dual enrollment in technical colleges. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Jesus Vazquez guided an eyeball-scorching flame, and the room crackled with noise as he tried to control a molten bead of metal that would determine success or failure.

A lot of kids like him wind up behind a burger counter or in other low-wage jobs, but this Hall County high school student wants something better, and this welding practice at a community college could help him get it. He enrolled in a new program that could lead to work with one of Gainesville’s better-paying employers. It’s the kind of opportunity that some leaders are hoping to give other teenagers across Georgia who wouldn’t otherwise have a shot at such training or at college.

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