KSU student named GDOL’s GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year
Leslie Berry, of Conyers, was a senior at Rockdale Career Academy last year when she was introduced to GeorgiaBEST in her Work-Based Learning class.
Today, a freshman at Kennesaw State University (KSU), Berry credits the Georgia Department of Labor's (GDOL) soft skills certification program with giving her the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. She is also the recipient of the first Georgia Employer Committee Scholarship as the GeorgiaBEST Student of the Year for the 2011-2012 pilot program. The scholarship was announced Thursday during the Georgia Employer Committee State Conference in Savannah.
"Being a part of the GeorgiaBEST program and Work-Based Learning have allowed me to learn first-hand the skills and characteristics of a hard worker," said Berry, who is studying pre-pharmacy at KSU.
"This program has taught me how to be a desirable candidate for a job, and I am now prepared to enter the workforce with the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in a wide range of professional settings. I am both honored and privileged to be a part of these programs and to be the first GeorgiaBEST scholarship winner," she said.
Berry was unable to attend the conference because of school commitments. "I truly regret that I was not able to attend," she said. "But my school work is a top priority with me, and I didn't feel like I could miss my chemistry exam."
GeorgiaBEST was implemented by Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and the GDOL throughout Georgia high schools last year to ensure that Georgia's future workforce is prepared to meet the challenges ahead of it and to create a more prepared workforce in Georgia through the soft skills certification.
"Leslie is the perfect example of the success of GeorgiaBEST, as evidenced by her commitment to her school work," said Commissioner Butler. "The program is very stringent, but something we need in this state to ensure our students are ready for the workforce when they leave high school. I also appreciate the Georgia Employer Committee for honoring the top student with a scholarship."
With more than 1,000 students receiving GeorgiaBEST soft skills certification, choosing a Best of the BEST Student of the Year was not an easy choice for the Georgia Employer Committee, which works to enhance employment resources provided by the GDOL and maintain strong partnerships between the department and the business community of the state.
Berry was one of only nine students at Rockdale Career Academy to receive a perfect 30 points in the GeorgiaBEST Soft Skills Assessment. Outside the classroom, Leslie was working at the Rockdale Medical Center Pharmacy Department.
Rockdale Academy was one of 20 schools taking part in the GeorgiaBEST pilot program last year. More than 1,600 students took part in GeorgiaBEST and 62 percent received certification.
This year, more schools are implementing GeorgiaBEST, bringing the total number of schools participating to more than 90.
"The GeorgiaBEST program has proven to be a perfect fit for the Rockdale County Public School work-based learning program," said Jeff Rogers, Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Rockdale County.
"We have always emphasized similar standards, and now students can earn state certification that will be recognized statewide," said Rogers. "The addition of the scholarship reinforces the importance of these soft skills. The Rockdale County Public School System is very honored to implement GeorgiaBEST and have Leslie chosen as the first recipient of the GeorgiaBEST Scholarship."
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