The DeKalb Difference Blog

2023 MADE In DeKalb Educator Fellowship Kicked Off With Week Long Tour Exploring Manufacturing and Logistics Facilities

The MADE In DeKalb Educator Fellowship, a groundbreaking program aimed at preparing middle and high school educators in DeKalb County for the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, kicked off its year-long program July 17 – July 21, 2023.  MADE In DeKalb is an abbreviation for Manufacturing, Automation, and Distribution Emerging in DeKalb. Organized by Decide DeKalb Development Authority and WorkSource DeKalb, this comprehensive initiative seeks to equip educators with the knowledge and skills required to guide their students towards successful careers in these rapidly growing fields.

Since 80% of U.S. Metro Cities are within a 2-hour flight or 2-day truck drive, DeKalb is strategically situated and home to large manufacturing centers and supply chain companies such as The Home Depot, PepsiCo, Schneider National and Sugar Bowl Bakery.  DeKalb not only hosts Georgia Perimeter Technical College but also benefits from its location near Georgia Tech, providing businesses with access to both a highly skilled workforce and cutting-edge research and development opportunities in the field of manufacturing. 

MADE In DeKalb received an overwhelming number of applications, with 50 educators from various schools in the DeKalb County School District applying for participation. Out of the numerous applications, ten educators were selected to participate. These educators demonstrated a deep commitment to providing their students with the best opportunities and a passion for fostering career pathways in the fields of advanced manufacturing and logistics.

During the intensive five-days of MADE In DeKalb, which is part of a year-long educator fellowship, participants were taken on a series of engaging and insightful site visits to some of the most prominent and industry-leading facilities in the region.  The visits sought to give educators firsthand exposure to the modern practices and technologies.


• Educators were introduced to modern manufacturing machine tools and equipment as well as industrial wiring and motor controls at Georgia Piedmont Technical College Advanced Manufacturing Center and toured the Clarkston Campus.

• Participants got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the operations of Sugar Bowl Bakery, a minority-owned and renowned manufacturer in the food industry that supplies large grocery chains including Costco and Kroger. Educators observed state-of-the-art production processes and witnessed how automation and technology have revolutionized the food manufacturing sector.

Marshall’s Distribution Center provided insights into the warehousing and distribution aspects of the logistics industry.  Educators saw how an organized efficient warehouse operation contributes to the seamless flow of materials.

• Educators had the opportunity to understand the intricacies of supply chain management at Schneider National and how effective logistics play a pivotal role in sustaining the economy. Some tested their driving skills on the truck simulator as they learned how it provides realistic training scenarios.

• A visit to the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Center exposed educators to cutting-edge research and development in advanced manufacturing. With more than 50% of the nation’s R&D in manufacturing, they saw how academia and industry collaborate to drive innovation and push the boundaries of manufacturing technologies.

• Conversations flowed as Robert Herrig, Director of Supply Chain & Advanced Manufacturing with Metro Atlanta Chamber provided an update on Supply Chain and Manufacturing in Metro Atlanta and Mellissa Takeuchi, Project Manager, Global Commerce with Georgia Department of Economic Development talked about the global impact of Georgia’s industries. Educators were given an inspiring talk from Chef Daryl Shular of Shular Institute and FarmEd as he discussed his journey to become the first African-American Master Chef and how he engages his students to become not just chefs, but leaders.

As part of the educator fellowship, MADE In DeKalb will continue to hold collaborative meetings throughout the year as well as quarterly workforce webinars for students, parents, and other educators to gather necessary information about careers in MADE fields.

Manufacturing is the key to America’s growth and competitiveness. During the kick-off week of MADE In DeKalb 2023, educators gained real-world, practical experiences and understanding of advanced manufacturing and logistics. Empowering DeKalb educators with this knowledge is critical as they aim to inspire and guide their students towards rewarding careers in the dynamic and thriving manufacturing sector. 

For more information about the MADE In DeKalb Educator Fellowship, please contact us.