Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, in partnership with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED), the Cherokee County School District, and Chattahoochee Technical College, hosted the first annual Skilled Professions Signing Day at The Circuit Woodstock Monday.

The event celebrated 19 high school seniors representing all six Cherokee high schools who are committed to pursuing advanced technical training or careers in the skilled trades. Of those participating, seven signees will attend Chattahoochee Technical College.

Signing Day participants Brent Burgess and Brandon Gomez are among the local students who are pursuing a career in the automotive industry.

“This was a big day,” said Burgess, a Cherokee High School senior. “It takes a lot of skill and dedication to do what we are training to do. It’s pretty exciting these jobs are finally getting the recognition they deserve.”

Etowah High School Senior Brandon Gomez added, “This day cements what I’ll be doing for the rest of my career.”

NASCAR Technical Institute admissions representative Jacob Flanagan celebrated the aspiring automotive students.

“This day means a lot to me and these students,” he said. “Getting to come out and teach these kids about their future is a wonderful opportunity to show what the industry holds and the potential income possibilities.”

Similar to national signing days for athletes, the inaugural signing day event seeks to raise awareness of the value of the skilled professions and celebrate students who have made a commitment to fulfill these essential careers. Students signed a “letter of commitment” to announce their plans to pursue a rewarding career within one of Be Pro Be Proud Georgia’s 15 skilled professions.

“Skilled professionals build our world and keep it running smoothly each day in so many ways — it’s an honor to help recognize their work’s importance through this celebration,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a statement. “Our Career Pathways program prepares and encourages students to pursue skilled jobs, and this signing day is the culmination of years of dedication by our students and their teachers. We’re proud of you!”

Launched in July, Be Pro Be Proud Georgia is a comprehensive initiative aimed at changing the perception of the skilled professions by linking career opportunities, training, and where to find jobs through an interactive website and hands-on mobile workshop. Since launch, Be Pro Be Proud Georgia has visited 46 schools – 18 in Cherokee and 27 across the state.

“It is our hope that this event, which was piloted in Cherokee, will become a statewide event for years to come,” COED President Misti Martin said. “Initiatives such as Be Pro Be Proud Georgia and the Skilled Professions Signing Day shine a light on high-growth industry sectors and opportunities for lifelong, fulfilling careers. There is no better time to put these future pros to work and instill a sense of pride in the skilled professions.”

For more about Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, visit www.beprobeproudga.org.

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