By Sarita Mason
OCG News Intern
Four recruits are gaining hands-on experience in the automotive world, thanks to DeKalb County Fleet Management, Georgia Piedmont Technical College and DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, District 5.
The students are among the first to participate in the DeKalb Fleet Apprenticeship Program. The two-year program launched on Sept.4, 2018 and is now providing the opportunities for students to get directly under the hood and on the ground as they learn to repair big fleets such as firetrucks, police cars and tractor trailers used by county government workers.
Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson said the program was launched to provide training that will yield promising jobs and careers.
“District 5 has the highest dropout rate in the county.” said Johnson. “This program is an alternative to help students get off the streets and provide jobs.”
Officials say the program awards a two-year degree equivalent to Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s curriculum. Students who complete the two-year program are almost guaranteed a job afterward, said Robert Gordon, Director of Fleet Management.
Participants are paid $15 an hour during the program, receiving benefits and are full time employees of DeKalb County. “Entry-level positions in Fleet Management have a starting pay of $16.50 to $22.50 an hour depending on experience,” said Gordon.
Students must be enrolled in a two-year technical school to become an apprentice. They also must have a valid driver’s license and pass a drug test to enroll in the program. Gordon and Fleet officials visit various technical schools to recruit students.
“We hope to expand the program and offer four more positions,” Gordon said. “There are currently job openings for DeKalb Fleet Management and we want to have those positions filled.”