Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 2 into law.

This bill, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Tippins (R – Marietta) on behalf of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, allows high school students to earn a high school diploma while simultaneously working toward a technical college or associate’s degree. Under this bill, a culinary and business leadership apprenticeship program has been formed to give high school students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree through work-based learning hours and college coursework.

The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia, and Arby’s Restaurant Group, worked with the Lt. Governor’s office to launch the Georgia Culinary Arts and Business Leadership Apprenticeship program, which Arby’s will pilot in the fall of 2015 in partnership with Athens Technical College.

The apprenticeship will allow students to learn the various positions of the restaurant industry and proceed through several of the Arby’s leadership development and learning programs. Students will also gain insight into areas such food costs, marketing, communication, and more.  The in-restaurant experience will be combined with relative coursework at Athens Technical College.

“This program engages students at a younger age to consider the restaurant industry as a long-term career path,” says Karen Bremer, executive director of the GRA. “This program will provide top-notch talent to the industry by creating a thorough application process and selecting the top candidates to enter the program. Students will gain valuable work experience on restaurant management skills and behaviors while they are still in high school.”

The student’s educational experience will be fully funded by state tax dollars and Arby’s Restaurant Group will fund the work-based learning by paying an hourly wage to the students for the 10-15 hours they work each week. Under the new Georgia bill, students will have the ability to earn academic credit that counts dually towards their high school diploma and college credit.

Upon completion of the two-year program, students will receive an associate’s degree from Athens Technical College, which is transferrable to a four-year institution.

“One of the most important challenges facing our state is preparing students to succeed in the 21st century global economy,” says Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “I appreciate Gov. Deal’s support of this initiative as well as the near unanimous endorsement of the Georgia General Assembly. Together, we will continue to build the top workforce and lead our state to prosperity for generations to come.”

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