What did the bankers, lawyers, healthcare workers, business leaders and educators who attended the Professional Women’s Network luncheon at Gunter’s Landing have in common?
Other than the obvious gender and passion for their careers, the women all shared an intense interest in shaping the future of local high school students.
The Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, sponsored by Regions Bank, on Oct. 22. Chamber members and professional women around Marshall County were invited to attend.
Along with lunch and networking opportunities the group enjoyed hearing from Guntersville High School Principal Roseanne Mabrey about the many new and exciting educational and workforce development opportunities available for students through Apple Seeds and other organizations.
Apple Seeds, a program of the The Apple Foundation in partnership with local business and community leaders, involves both mentoring and job shadowing opportunities for high school students.
Mabrey said the program, set up to expand the level of hands on experience as students move up in grade, helps students bridge the disconnect between education and career choices.
“We’re really pushing for students to expand beyond saying, ‘I want to go to college,’ to really preparing them to choose a career path when they get there,” she explained. “Unlike a traditional co-op program, where a student might attend class half the day and then work the other half, Apple Seeds can be tailored to fit each student’s schedule.”
Where a regular co-op student is required to take additional classes and restricted by various employment policies, students shadowing through Apple Seeds have more flexibility in finding opportunities that fit their schedule, and can more easily participate in more than one offering, she added.
“We feel the program will truly prepare students to be more college and career ready, and know the best path to get started when they graduate from Guntersville High School,” Mabrey said. “The more experience we can give them now, the easier it will be for them later.”
Another partnership that’s expanded under the new career and technology initiatives is the number of GHS students enrolled in career training programs at Marshall Technical School. Mabrey said some younger students who wanted to attend the tech school were told they would have to wait until next year to start because there wasn’t funding for the large number of students who applied. She hopes to partner with business and industry leaders to sponsor additional tuition costs in the future.
“Some of these students are considered at risk,” she said. “I asked them to hang in there, we would get them in next year.
“You just never know,” she added. “So far they are making it, but I hate to take that chance. It would be great to have the funding to send all the students who apply.”
There are great things going on in local schools, and you can help make a difference. To learn more or to get involved, contact The Apple Foundation by phone at 256-582-0262, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mabrey at 256-582-2046 or email email@example.com.