Shelby Chamber to present ‘Career Corps’ summer program

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2021

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The Shelby County Greater Community Foundation in partnership with 58 INC. is pleased to announce Shelby County “Career Corps,” a summer program designed to provide paid internships for educators who wish to learn more about the variety of career pathways that exist for their students and how to make subject matter relevant in the classroom.

Career Corps will focus on Alabama’s top-demand occupations in target industry sectors such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, professional services, construction and transportation/distribution/logistics.

Through the Career Corps program, educators will interact directly with industry and business leaders to learn about job requirements and how particular subjects and skills are utilized in day-to-day tasks. Educators will also learn about industry trends and be exposed to ideas and work-related examples that will enhance classroom instruction, student learning and career readiness.

Upon acceptance into the program, educators were carefully and deliberately matched with a company based on grade taught, subject matter and location. Biomedical Sciences educator at Shelby County Schools Career and Technical Educator Center, Celia Dozier and Shelby County Schools 2020-2021 Educator of the Year has been selected to be part of the program.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity that Career Corps is providing educators to empower our students to become our future industry leaders,” Dozier said.

Companies throughout Shelby County will host an educator this summer, showcasing their operation, departments, opportunities and challenges. All the while learning more about the trial’s educators face in the classroom and provide a mechanism to brainstorm mutually beneficial solutions for students that will ultimately become potential employees.

“Connecting our Shelby County educators to industry is incredibly beneficial for our educators, and our companies, each will connect, brainstorm and revive the career pathways our students will soon be following” said Pari Barzegari, community and career development director with The Shelby County Chamber.

Funding for the Career Corps program was made possible through a grant from Cawaco RC&D, Inc., which makes it possible to offer each educator a stipend for days worked.

“This project is very unique as it provides direct job training to teachers and gives them insight into career opportunities available in Shelby County, so they can create lesson plans pertaining to those specific occupations,” said Patti Pennington, programs manager for Cawaco RC&D, Inc. “In this way, it trains both teacher and student.”

When asked about the impetus that lead to this project, Melody Whitten, Director of Development for 58 INC., added, “In an effort to continually address workforce needs in Shelby County, we are deeply engaged in workforce development initiatives and programming.  Therefore, when this grant opportunity became available, we were excited to offer an avenue for educators to interact with business and industry so that they may experience the wide variety of career pathways that exist for their students and the skill sets needed to be successful in their future career.”

Whitten continued, “I am extremely grateful to Cawaco for their support and hope we are able to identify additional means to continue to program in years to come.”

Bruce Goin, the owner of Express Employment, agreed to participate in the Career Corp program and added, “We are excited about participating as a host for the Career Corps program. Employers are experiencing a noticeable reduction in core soft skills from applicants and new hires (communication, dependability, working well with others, asking questions, taking initiative). By participating in the Corps program, teachers can get a first-hand feel of the types of jobs in Shelby County, the opportunities that exist for the workforce, and also what employers look for in new employees.  This experience can then be reinforced to students in the classroom.”