Kids looking to nail down a career in Jones County just got a big boost.
Here's how people there hope a new $3 million grant for a career readiness academy will pay big dividends for the county's future.
You don't have to know what oxyacetylene welding is, but it is noteworthy that Casey Vinson's future is pretty bright.
"I did welding and ag mechanics last year," she said.
Students can earn dual enrollment certificates through the Jones County High School College and Career Academy.
"This program has made me love welding even more as a passion, and now it makes me want to do welding as a career, so I'm going to pursue that and go to Lincoln Tech in Nashville, Tennessee," Casey explained.
Laura Rackley is the CEO of the academy.
"Right now, in terms of dual enrollment, we have 346 unique students participating earning over 600 credits at the various colleges, our primary partner is Central Georgia Technical College, we also have a partnership with Middle Georgia State University," Rackley said.
She's pretty happy the state just infused the program with a $3 million grant.
"It felt amazing," she said. " Someone made the comment that there weren't any fireworks, and I said there were in our heads because we were that excited."
The money will go towards finishing a new building for the academy. It's the last slice of the financial pie to put in place before the facility opens next fall.
"But that's $3 million that's freed up that was local funds, so that's local funds that can be supportive of not only the college and career academy, but all of the Jones County school system," Rackley said.
Casey will graduate before the new digs open up, but it's OK, because thanks to the academy, she and her classmates have a clear vision of what high school can look like after graduation.
"It makes them realize what they want to do more and it helps them not take as long to figure it out after like outside of school," she said.
Rackley says the overall building is being funded by an ESPLOST.
Next year when the new building opens up, they plan to offer a couple of new programs including engineering and first responders.