Recently, a few Alexandria Industries' employees participated in the Freshman Academy Network program at the Alexandria Area High School. The program partners community leaders with ninth grade students to empower the youth to make positive life choices that enable them to maximize their potential. It envisions a community in which every student experiences nurturing relationships and community support. In turn, this allows each of them to develop into their full potential, capable of making informed, responsible decisions as involved members of our community.
The employees volunteered to be in the program because they are passionate about education, manufacturing, and the impact the industry has in our community. Their goal is to open the eyes of students to the world of manufacturing and get more young talent interested in it as a career choice.
The volunteers met with their students in small groups, where they shared real-world information about the different jobs available and what it is like to work in manufacturing. They also discussed with the students how they can apply what they learn in school to a career in manufacturing. The students conducted mock interviews and had to "sell" themselves as a potential employee. The hands-on learning provided participants with a solid understanding of the career opportunities in manufacturing.
When asked what they got out of being involved in the program, our employee volunteers said:
- "The program brought me out of my comfort zone and it was something I looked forward to attending each time."
- "Student participation was great. They were engaged because the classes were directed in areas of their interests."
- "The earlier we can sell manufacturing to our youth, the better. But we have to be passionate about it ourselves."
- "The students were amazingly astute and know immediately if you really care about them and are sincere about what you are doing while spending time with them."
Being involved in educating our youth about manufacturing allows us to share our passion and experience something greater than ourselves while we contribute to the well-being of the students and their future. The program also plays an important role in developing our future workforce.