Representatives from West Georgia Technical College, the Central Educational Center, Yamaha Motors and the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, gather for a photo in front of the Yamaha welding booth at the CEC.

From Special Reports

Welding students at the Central Educational Center in Newnan will receive valuable experience in the practices and protocols of a Newnan manufacturer, thanks to a partnership between West Georgia Technical College and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America.

West Georgia Tech recently opened the Yamaha welding booth at the CEC in Newnan. The booth mirrors one that could be found in the Yamaha manufacturing plant, also in Newnan.

The booth – which features a safety checklist straight from the Yamaha plant and a poster detailing the practices and protocols found on the manufacturing floor – gives welding students a preview of what will be expected of them after they’ve entered the workforce.

WGTC President Steven G. Daniel said opening the Yamaha booth at the CEC is “exactly what the College should be doing for workforce development.”

“I am so proud of this partnership,” Daniel said. “Workforce development is our mission, and this is a perfect alignment of what a company’s protocols are and what our students are learning. That pays dividends for both our students and the community at large, and we couldn’t do it without having Yamaha at the table with us.”

Richie Whitaker, who serves as unit manager of the welding department at Yamaha Motors in Newnan, was present for the booth’s opening. He said the CEC’s welding booth will likely lead to even more graduates being hired by Yamaha.

“This will really make for an easier hiring process on our end, as well,” Whitaker said. “Once they’re hired by us, these graduates will still have to pass the normal station requirements that we have, but they’ll be more prepared than most to tackle those tests, and with that extra education and training, they’re more likely to get hired.”

Mark Whitlock, CEO of the Central Educational Center in Newnan, said the Yamaha welding booth is an “ultimate example” of incorporating a business’s practices into a course’s curriculum.

“Whenever you can close all of those seams that may exist between a course track and the industry those students will be entering after graduation, it’s an amazing thing,” Whitlock said.