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Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 12:36pm

"Tech Programs Keep Kids In School"

Thousands of Georgia students learned new trade skills and about some career options at an expo in Atlanta Thursday.

With Georgia’s graduation rate among the worst in the nation, it’s an effort to keep kids motivated to stay in school.

From making bio-fuel to laying bricks, operating a crane to cutting tile, students learned dozens of trades at a career expo at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Eighteen-year-old Charles Cretnik from Gilmer County High School wants to do construction when he graduates. As he's laying tile, he says the practical skills he learns in his tech classes keep him motivated.

"Just sitting around doing all the academic classes school would be pretty boring, but with taking all the tech classes it’s really interesting," say Cretnik.

Cretnik has taken 15 tech courses in high school so far.

Kevin Ward, Director of Operations for the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, who helped spearhead the event, says the intent is to show kids the importance of those classes and how they translate into real world work.

"Within the schools they offer these types of programs, automotive repair, carpentry , architectural engineering, welding, and it engages the young people to keep them engaged in high school so they don't drop out."

Studies show the graduation rate of kids who take at least three tech courses in high school is 90 percent. That compares to Georgia's overall rate of 77 percent.

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