OMHS students get a taste of the real world
Published 3:42 pm Friday, October 16, 2015
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY—Oak Mountain High School students got a taste of life as an adult during the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s Keeping it Real program on Oct. 16.
Sponsored by the UPS Store and Legacy Community Federal Credit Union, the program “introduces (students) to the realities of adult life,” GSCCC Director of Community and Workforce Development Keyla Handley said.
On Thursday, Oct. 15, the GSCCC spoke with students about possible career paths and the importance of education. Forty percent of students in America drop out of high school or do not receive education past a high school degree, and only 15 percent of jobs are available to students with a high school-level or lower education, Handley said.
“It very much encourages students to stay in school,” Handley said. “(Education fosters) a better, more reliable, more well-rounded workforce for Shelby County.”
After the presentation, students were assigned a life scenario, including an education level, a job, income, marital status and number of children. On Friday, Oct. 16, they worked to balance expenses with income in their given life scenario.
Students deducted basic expenses from their given incomes, such as insurance, housing, clothing and car payments. They also made choices on extra expenses, such as Internet and cellphones.
“I learned that life is really expensive,” OMHS senior Haley Howe said, noting she was surprised at the cost of insurance. “You have to pay for everything… It’s just a lot.”
Students could increase their income by investing in themselves through education.
“I learned a college degree is very important and I need to get one,” OMHS senior Brooke Alderholt said.
The Keeping it Real program is just one of the job-oriented programs the GSCCC offers at local schools. Each spring the chamber hosts a Career Awareness Fair for high school sophomores, and this year, the chamber is piloting a “soft skills” program targeted at developing communication and interview skills.
“That’s what we’re hearing from our workforce that our students are lacking,” Handley said.
The programs are designed to get students thinking about their future and introducing them to possible future employers.
“We ask our members to come out and volunteer for day two of Keeping it Real. Every volunteer I’ve ever talked to loved it,” Handley said. “We think, in the long run, that’s going to make the work force here in Shelby County better.”