Greenbrier High School junior Luke Gavalas scoured a half-assembled John Deere tractor chassis and engine Friday, searching for defects such as any new-hire to the Grovetown assembly line would.
"I've seen some of these pieces before, like the motor and hydraulics," he said, as he tried to find one of a dozen hidden flaws during a training exercise. A veteran at driving and working on tractors, Luke said it was the first time he had been behind the scenes in the assembly process.
About 175 students from Columbia County, including Luke, got a taste of the working world Friday as part of a job-shadowing program with Junior Achievement of Georgia's Augusta District.
The day was designed to show the students the reality of the working world, said Dawn Violette, an education manager for the Augusta district.
Beyond job-specific training, the students learn simple things such as dress codes, being on time and personal responsibility.
"If anything, what I hope these students take from this is (they either) confirm this is the job they want to do, or confirm it is not the job they want to do, and find other options," she said.
Junior Achievement paired the students based on their areas of interest, Violette said, adding that about 52 companies in the Augusta area participated.
Other companies and government entities in Columbia County taking part in the program included Georgia Power, Dino's Chicago Express and Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue, she said.
At the John Deere Commercial Products Plant, Luke and four other students from Greenbrier High and an Evans High pupil took part in an orientation and safety lesson, took a tour of the plant, learned about John Deere's global operations and even went on a test drive of some heavy equipment.
They also used computer drafting programs to design tractor parts, received a brief lesson on the cost analysis of design and learned basic procedures on an assembly line, he said.
Luke said drafting programs he used in class were similar to what he saw at John Deere. He said it was neat to see where the tractors he has driven are built, adding that the job-shadowing experience was in line with some of his career goals.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.