Warner Robins, Ga. – As Generation Z makes their way through college in the years ahead, they may discover there is no clear handbook for how they should go about building their futures.
Perhaps they thumb through an abridged version of the millennial manual or as Generation Y likes to call it, “a student loan receipts folder stored in the cloud”. On the other hand, maybe they go back further into a chapter on the booming days when part-time jobs and full-time parents could afford a young adult an education.
Even if they cycle through all the pages and the filters, the options are more undefined than ever. But just before they reach the end of the generational alphabet, CGTC offers a look at what technical education can offer.
Two years ago, Breana Casey, 20, graduated from Putnam County High School in Eatonton, Ga.
Casey holds a diploma in Electronics Technology thanks to the dual enrollment program at CGTC. The program offers qualified high school students in 9th-12th grades an opportunity to earn college course credit through a variety of options.
Casey’s diploma has opened career avenues few of her peers have.
Almost immediately following her graduation two years ago, Casey moved south 60 miles by herself to start an internship with Robins Air Force Base. While her peers were indebted deep into the college lifestyle, she was holding circuit boards with little to no debt.
Her interest in Electronics Technology was sparked from a less than glamorous source. An informational meeting introduced her to the program and its instructor. Casey took a chance on it and became the only female in the class.
“It wasn’t too bad,” she said. “I felt a little alone at first but we all became good friends. It was not anything too weird.”
Now Casey is in a two-year electronic mechanic training program at Robins AFB, using skills she learned directly from the dual enrollment program.
“The industry is definitely male-dominated, but there have been a lot more females I can go to for help,” she says.
She says dual enrollment gave her a distinct advantage compared to her peers, but even more, it has matured her.
“I had to learn to function in the adult world a little bit more than I was expecting; I wasn’t expecting to be here at 20 years old,” she said.
She said if it were not for dual enrollment, she would probably be working in a restaurant in the same place she grew up, or maybe had gone back to school, exploring options.
“A lot of my peers look down on technical education, they feel like it’s not going to look as good or ‘Instagramable’,” she said.
Where her generation often strides for extravagant independence and ponders why they cannot have the lavish drip of a social media influencer, she hopes social feeds will soon reflect the positives of a more affordable, technical-driven career and the economic stability it can provide.
“I hope what people see in me is that I chose a path that was uncommon, but what I gained from being in a position that a person like me doesn’t get to be in very often shows that it doesn’t matter if the limitations are in front of you, go ahead and do it.”
For more information on Dual Enrollment at CGTC visit, http://www.centralgatech.edu/highschool/