Search

Chamber Adds Facility Tours to Career Readiness Repertoire

Amanda Ellis

“When I began working with the Chamber’s workforce readiness programs, I realized many local students hadn’t seen anything farther away than two to three blocks from home,” says Darian Scott, Outreach Coordinator at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.

Scott says he began wondering: how can we expect students to make strong career decisions when they haven’t been exposed to the paths available for their futures? Others shared his concern, and that led to the launch of the Chamber’s Workforce Pipeline Facility Tours for high school students.

EPB hosted the first tour and soon other companies wanted to participate too.

“By offering facility tours, companies not only support young people in the community to achieve, they also build their own workforce pipeline by exposing students to opportunities with their companies,” Scott says.

EPB, Roadtec and Gestamp have led facility tours for juniors and seniors from Central, Tyner and Brainerd High Schools, and most recently, students in the YMCA Youth Leadership Chattanooga program.

Gestamp offers its own work-based learning program in addition to hosting its first facility tour in March for students of the Youth Leadership program. Mandy Lusk, Gestamp’s Coordinator of Work-Based Learning, says students are surprised by the range of jobs available aside from those on the plant floor – accounting, engineering, shipping and receiving and more.

“We start in the training room, go over safety rules, show a video about what we do,” Lusk says. “Then we take them out on the plant floor with safety glasses and ear plugs, and they tour the whole facility to watch students and regular employees working.”

The students Gestamp employs are high school juniors and seniors who participate in Gestamp’s work-based learning program. They’re paid hourly to work part of the day and also attend school in Gestamp’s Learning Lab to complete coursework to graduate from their high school.

“There’s a stigma that young people don’t know what hard work is, that they don’t have soft skills,” Lusk says. “We teach them about being on time, working as a team, communication skills, so that when they graduate from high school, they’ll be prepared for a career with Gestamp or another company. Our workforce development efforts help build a labor pool for the community.”

If your company is interested in hosting a Workforce Pipeline Facility Tour, contact Darian Scott at [email protected]. Programs like these contribute to shared education goals in our community, like Chattanooga 2.0’s strategies to reimagine learning for the 21st century and prep students to make smart college and career decisions.

Find more information about Gestamp’s work-based learning program for high school juniors and seniors here.

Other Topics

When Jay Dale, Chattanooga Market President of First Horizon Bank, assumes leadership over the Chattanooga Chamber board of directors this summer, he'll do so with a very clear understanding of the past, present and future. Looking behind him, he sees…

On June 12, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce hosted Diversify 2024 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, bringing together business leaders, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and community members.   The day was filled with invaluable networking opportunities and captivating presentations, all geared…

The American dining landscape is a case study in polar extremes, as it often feels like we simultaneously exist in a golden age of high-quality restaurant options while we’re also surrounded by junk food crammed with loads of unhealthy ingredients…

On Wednesday, May 29, Chattanooga 2.0 hosted its inaugural “Viable Pathway to Prosperity in Welding” signing day, a groundbreaking partnership with Chattanooga State Community College, Hamilton County Department of Education, American Welding Society, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, ASTEC and…

Just weeks after graduating its cohort of outstanding 2024 Chattanooga leaders, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce proudly announces its new incoming Leadership Chattanooga class of 24-25 "The incoming class members are phenomenal, all representing the best and brightest of…

The newest class of young professional leaders has been established, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce announced. Welcome to the Protege Chattanooga class of 24-25. "This Protege class will change the world," said Toya Moore, Leadership Development Director. "We were…

Sign up for weekly updates.