Ready to Work program kicks off at local schools

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County High School students heard from local employers about the job interview process and how to prepare for workforce opportunities during a Ready to Work program kickoff party Aug. 14.

Industry representatives from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Modular Connections LLC, Altech, Hibbett Sports, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, Sysco, ProcessBarron, Lhoist North America, Cahaba Maintenance and Construction Inc. and Pradco Outdoor Brands spoke to students about their companies and what attributes they look for in job applicants.

“Learn everything you can,” Jeff Halvorson with Hibbett Sports said. “That way, you’re more valuable to the people you work for.”

Ready to Work is a new career technical education program designed to introduce students to different career clusters and to help them hone their soft skills in preparation for jobs they pursue in the future.

Industry tours will not only allow students to see firsthand how local companies operate, but they will give Shelby County companies a chance to meet students who could be prime candidates for jobs.

The Onin Group, a Birmingham-based staffing company, is partnering with Shelby County Schools, AIDT, The Shelby County Chamber and 58 INC. to offer the program to high school seniors.

“They can go on real interviews and get job offers,” said Tiffany Bishop, area workforce development manager with The Onin Group. “I’m excited about it.”

Kickoff events were also held at Montevallo High School and Vincent High School this month.

Students who successfully complete the Ready to Work program can receive a National Career Readiness Certificate, an Alabama Certified Worker Certificate and a free college course at any community college in Alabama.