Members of North Augusta’s Chamber of Commerce are gearing up to provide authentic work-based learning experiences for students through the community workforce development collaborative, Aiken Works, according to a news release.
Chamber President Terra Carroll called on a number of business leaders from her group of 395 members to gauge their interest and willingness to host work-based learning opportunities.
“They were absolutely receptive and felt confident that together we could provide official department of labor-certified youth apprenticeships for at least 20 students, in addition to internships and job shadowing opportunities for many more,” she added.
Carroll said she knows that finding qualified employees is challenging for member businesses.
“The education to workforce pipeline is kind of dry,” she said.
Carroll has supported career preparation efforts of North Augusta students for a number of years by working with middle school students in the Youth Leadership Program, facilitating business connections for Lunch & Learn opportunities, and collaborating with school Counselors and Career Development Facilitators for STEM events.
“We know businesses are running into issues with hiring, challenged by candidates with both skill deficiency and a lacking work ethic,” she continued. “I believe that Aiken Works will impact our business community long-term. I’m looking forward to this partnership and the ability of our member businesses to enhance what Aiken Works is already doing.”
Aiken Works looks to have more than 60 students begin apprenticeships in June.
“In partnering with the North Augusta Chamber, there is an opportunity for career exploration from a full
spectrum of occupations,” said Lafayette Stewart, district coordinator for the initiative.