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Students at Jackson High School and Foothills got a taste of a future career in commercial truck driving, healthcare, plumbing, welding and automation and robotics when the Be Pro, Be Proud Georgia mobile workshop visited Jackson on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.

Be Pro, Be Proud Georgia’s goal is to introduce students to technical careers through virtual and augmented reality experiences. The program also connects students with potential employers and training providers.

To determine which professions and skilled trades were to be included in the Be Pro, Be Proud Georgia’s mobile workshops, 15 of the higher paid skilled trade jobs in the Metro Atlanta area were surveyed. Then, simulations based on those skilled trades were developed.

Wellstar sponsors Be Pro Be Proud Georgia and opens the medical field to students. Georgia Power sponsors the Virtual Reality simulator that contains 10-12 different interchangeable training modules, according to the BPBP GA website.

“Jackson Foothills students were excited to participate in the simulations,” said Melissa Griffin, executive director, Foothills Education Charter High School and the Development Authority of Butts County’s industry/workforce development coordinator. “They were also surprised to learn that classes and training for several jobs discussed during the simulation visit can be taken right across the street at Southern Crescent Technical College.”

Griffin said students commented it was helpful to learn about the average job openings, earning potential and projected growth for careers they may pursue.

The Butts County Industrial Development Authority arranged for Be Pro Be Proud’s mobile lab visit.

“Today’s teenagers are screenagers. They are virtual learners, and they love virtual reality,” said Bob White, executive director of the BIDA. “We have been working at trying to increase the number of pathways at the high school and line them up with the industries that are coming into the county.”

White says the BIDA is working with groups like Be Pro Be Proud Georgia and Southern Crescent Technical College to provide opportunities to introduce students to jobs in the manufacturing industry to fill positions at the warehouses being built in the area.