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Sometimes, dreams look like hard work. 

 Creekview sophomore Will Nichelson signing certificate during Signing DayIn Fall 2020, Creekview sophomore Will Nichelson stepped onboard Be Pro Be Proud Georgia – a comprehensive initiative that connects students to post-secondary training and careers through an interactive website and mobile workshop. Little did Will know, his life would change forever. While Be Pro Be Proud Georgia features many different paths to success, Will’s future was right in front of him in the form of a Lincoln Electric Welding simulator.

 Fast forward two years. Will graduated from Chattahoochee Technical College with his basic welding certifications exactly two days after he stood in front of his peers and committed to GO PRO in welding at the second annual Skilled Professions Signing Day, a collaboration between Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, Cherokee Office of Economic Development, the Cherokee County School District, and Chattahoochee Technical College. 

 It’s safe to say that trading his graduation cap for a welding hood directly upon graduation was quite the upgrade. 

 Alongside Will, 33 fellow students representing all six Cherokee High Schools signed a “letter of intent” to pursue a career within one of Be Pro Be Proud Georgia’s 15 in-demand professions. Not only are students getting energized around these careers, but parents and the community are taking notice, too. 

For Be Pro Be Proud, stories like this prove that the movement to “bring a new generation of pride, progress, and professionals to Georgia’s skilled workforce” is working. Early exposure to essential careers through programs like Be Pro Be Proud Georgia and Skilled Professions Signing Day are translating to life-changing careers. 

As our next Skilled Professions Day signee can attest, hard work pays off. 

A person holding a microphone

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceWoodstock High School graduate Christian Preiser attended the inaugural signing day in May 2021. A year later, he made his return to the signing day stage as a fully vested skilled professional working as an electrical apprentice at Hewatt Electrical Contractors in Marietta. His company is even paying for his professional certifications while he receives on-the-job training. Like many of his peers, Christian has turned his passion for electrical work into a profitable career.

Working within the skilled professions is more than just finding a high-wage, stable career – it’s discovering a sense of pride that comes from building something from the ground up. From nerdy to dirty, Be Pro Be Proud spotlights a variety of high-growth careers. The movement also demonstrates that the path to success doesn’t always involve a traditional four-year degree. College is a great option, but every student must walk a different road depending on their skillsets.

Georgia’s growing number of skilled professionals keep our world running every day. From the web developer who’s creating the next award-winning website in JavaScript to the line worker who’s powering up entire communities, these essential workers are making an impact in ways we can only imagine.

The next time you need help on a construction project, some fresh air because your HVAC went out, or at-home medical care, it may just be one of Cherokee’s Skilled Professions Signing Day honorees showing up at your door.

The path to success starts right here at home. Find out how you can join the movement at

Source:  Family Life Publications