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Trade Five Awards New Grants To Teachers And More Grants Are Available!

Remember our video interview with Freedom Middle School’s Amanda Whitmire? If not, you should definitely check it out. Whitmire was a Trade Five Grant recipient and she raved about what the grant meant for her students.

Well, during a recent STEM Forum held at the Classic Center in Athens, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Trade Five initiative presented 17 Georgia Middle and High Schools with Trade Five Grant Awards.

Trade Five is the state’s skilled trade awareness initiative, designed to promote career opportunities that exists within five key skilled trade industries- logistics, telecommunication, energy, construction and manufacturing.

Christina Barfield of Mary Persons High School was one of the winners, and she plans to enhance an existing program at her school with the grant.

“Our engineering program is growing significantly, which increases our opportunities to compete in events and our CTSO, Technology Student Association,” Barfield said. “[An] increase in competitions and student population means [an] increase in needs to support these students and offset competition and material expenses. We can now greatly increase our productivity and breadth of items we can offer with the scroll saw we are purchasing thanks to the Trade Five grant! I can't wait to get my students trained and designing!”

What Barfield is doing is exactly the kind of thing the Trade Five Grant was meant to help with. This new piece of equipment is something students from multiple classes will be able to learn on and use moving forward.

Jim Steel of Crisp County High School was also a recipient. He teaches construction and said he plans on offering a richer course structure to help his students graduate high school with a greater chance of entering the workforce.

“Any opportunity that allows students to be better prepared to enter the workforce is inestimable,” Steele said. “Having Industry Credentials from the OSHA 10-hour class and my National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) accredited program helps my students to be the first to be hired.”

If you or someone you know is a teacher and these grants sound like something you’d be interested in, email Ashley Shaw at or fill out the grant application here. The deadline for applications for the next batch of grants is December 15, 2017. 

Parrish Walton

Parrish Walton is a communications specialist with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). He is the primary author of the Georgia@Work blog, which aims to educate Georgia citizens on all of the great things done by the Workforce Division within GDEcD. Parrish is a proud product of the public school system of... more