people have nice teeth and pretty smiles by working
at Smile Science, a dental lab owned by Bill Thomas,
The Youth Apprenticeship Program at White County
High School is a program that incorporates three
critical elements: work-based learning, school-based
learning, and appropriate connecting activities.
It allows Juniors and Seniors who have an identified
career objective to obtain experience and skills
in a workplace setting. These students take courses
relevant to their career goals and simultaneously
work in correlating local businesses.
Georgia Department of Education established this
program in the early 90’s in an effort to
prepare students for high-skill occupations and
to provide Georgia with a pool of highly trained,
technologically sophisticated young workers. Students
get a head start on their career and experience
a smoother transition to work while employers
have an excellent opportunity to build employee
loyalty, reduce costly turnover, and impact the
skill level of its employee base.
Since the beginning of the program at WCHS in
1994, Mr. Thomas has employed several Youth Apprenticeship
students. In fact, he was one of the first employers
involved and was instrumental in getting the program
started. Mr. Thomas remains a strong supporter
of the program partially because of the many good
student employees who have stayed with his company.
But more importantly, he feels that the Apprenticeship
program is a great way to further educate the
many really good students who may not be college
bound, yet still have a lot to offer the business
While White County Youth Apprenticeship Program
has helped produced several young dental professionals,
many other industries have benefited as well.
Plumbers, HVAC assistants, administrative assistants,
bankers, bakers, chefs, teachers, grocery store
managers, pharmacy technicians, welders, Certified
Nurses Assistants, veterinary technicians, auto
technicians, graphic designers and even a racecar
driver began their careers while participating
in the program. What a great place to start!
Donna Fitzpatrick, Apprenticeship
Program Director - White County High School