GSCCC expanding its presence in schools

Freshmen at Thompson High School participate in a pervious Keeping It Real event, hosted by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. (File)

Freshmen at Thompson High School participate in a pervious Keeping It Real event, hosted by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce will continue its relationship with schools in Shelby County, developing new programs for high school students in 2015.

As part of the Chamber’s 2015 Business Plan, approved in mid-December, the GSCCC will continue the Keeping it Real program for ninth grade students and introduce programs for both sophomore and junior year students.

“We’re offering the opportunity to be a resource to (schools in Shelby County),” GSCCC President and CEO Kirk Mancer said.

Nearing the completion of its second year, the Keeping it Real program introduces high school freshmen to real-world concepts they might not learn in the classroom, such as budgeting, Mancer explained, noting the Keeping it Real program also emphasizes the importance of education.

“The things they’re doing in school are the very things they need to be doing as a positive member of the workforce,” Mancer said.

In 2015, the Chamber plans to launch a Career Awareness Fair, introducing 10th grade students to both business people in the community and a variety of career paths available to them.

“Volunteers from 16 different career clusters… will share with the kids the types of jobs available to them, the salary they will earn and the education level they need to reach,” Mancer said.

The Chamber is also “putting together the finishing touches” on a program designed for junior year students. The program will roll out for the 2015-2016 academic year, Mancer said, and will likely focus on communication and interview skills as well as resume assistance.

“We’re working with them and they’re being very receptive,” Mancer said, noting many Shelby County, Pelham and Alabaster schools have partnered with the Chamber.

The Chamber will also continue the annual Student and Educator of the Year awards luncheon in 2015, recognizing outstanding seniors and faculty throughout schools in Shelby County, Mancer said.

“Our members are the future employers of these students,” Mancer said. “Let’s partner with the folks in education and be a mutual resource for each other.”