Pathways program welcomes 39 new students
By Jennifer Bacchus, ANAD Public Affairs OfficeAugust 6, 2020
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot’s Pathways Program held its annual orientation for high school interns over two nights, July 29 and 30.The dual nights enabled the program instructors and director to ensure the students and parents could safely social distance during the presentations.This year, there are 39 high school seniors in the Pathways Program. Of those, 19 will study mechanics, 10 welding, five electronics and five machining.The disciplines and numbers of students in each are selected every year based on projected future workforce needs.During orientation, Thyris Banks, chief of the Depot Operations Office, reminded the incoming class of the importance of their training.“Most of what we do here is production in support of the war fighters,” he said. “When we make mistakes, it may cost a Soldier or Marine’s life. So, we can’t make mistakes.”The students will receive four hours of training every day, giving them a half day at their school and a half day here.They must maintain a grade of C or better in each of their core classes and Pathways course and a minimum 2.5 overall grade point average.“That tells us they are able to work and go to school,” said Marilyn Futrell, director of the Pathways Program.Upon graduation from high school, students in good standing may be offered conversion to the technical college portion of the program, which is conducted through Gadsden State Community College.This year, there will be a few changes when the students report on Aug. 17, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.• Temperature checks conducted daily prior to the start of work• Interns rotate in smaller groups to locker rooms, to ensure social distancing• Interns rotate in smaller groups for break and lunch, to ensure social distancing• Disinfectant fogger machines are utilized throughout the day in common areas, such as the classrooms and breakrooms• Hand sanitizer, gloves and disinfectant spray available in the shop, classroom and breakrooms• Each student is issued two masks, which are required to be worn if they are less than six feet from each other• Interns will clean and sanitize all keyboards and computer stations, including chairs, after each use• Breakroom and classroom tables have been marked for proper social distancing• No sharing of food or beverages• No sharing of books or pens• COVID-19 precaution flyers and posters are displayed throughout the facility“We are like you, we are concerned about your child, too,” Futrell told parents during orientation as she outlined the steps being taken.The Student Educational Employment Program began in January 2001. Now called Pathways, it is a three-phase program beginning with training high school students who then progress to a technical college education and, finally, full-time employment at the depot, if a position is available.The spots are highly competitive and students must apply through USA Jobs.