North AlabamaWorks hosts Career Coach Collective in Hartselle, Alabama

Through the North AlabamaWorks Career Coach Collective, high school Career Coaches in Workforce Region 1 meet quarterly to collaborate and share ideas for helping students navigate career pathways.

On December 15, NAW invited the Career Coach Collective to Hartselle to learn about the Tiger Launch work-based learning program. Developed and administered by Jeff Hyche and Elisa Harris, Tiger Launch serves Hartselle City Schools, Morgan County Schools, and Cullman County Schools in connecting students to real-world work experience through jobs with partnering industries.

Sononco Career Coach Collective visit (from L to R): from left to right. Elisa Harris, Hartselle City Schools, Thomas Prus – FAME Apprentice 
Hunter Pangle – EPIC Apprentice, Ryan Garrison – Tiger Launch Mentor, Calhoun Community College Business Student, Destinee Taylor – Senior Tiger Lunch Student, Richard Long – Sonoco Tiger Launch Manager, Jeff Hyche – Hartselle City Schools. Brian Kilpatrick – Sonoco Director of Manufacturing, Matt Williams – Sonoco Plant Manager

Both students and company participants agree this is a win-win program, with students gaining valuable skills and career insights, and companies potentially growing their own workforce. Jobs are tailored to a student’s interests and schedule, with the potential for gaining high school and/or college credit, in addition to receiving hourly pay. Students are also well prepared to enter community college apprenticeship-model programs such as FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) and EPIC (Excellence in Process Industrial Controls).

Representatives from partnering companies Sonoco and Cerrowire in Hartselle share glowing reviews of the program. While it’s been a learning process for the companies and the school, flexibility and the desire to see both students and businesses succeed have resulted in a profitable partnership for all involved. Through this program, Sonoco and Cerrowire have become business partners, with students manufacturing Sonoco wooden reels that package Cerrowire.

The Tiger Launch program is not limited to manufacturing, and career tech staff at Hartselle City Schools continue to look for opportunities to partner with more businesses and schools.

Mayor Tab Bowling, City of Decatur, Alabama, and Human Resources Manager, Richelle Sandlin

The Career Coaches also visited the City of Decatur, where Mayor Tab Bowling and Human Resources Manager, Richelle Sandlin, shared information about the many different types of jobs available through municipalities. This visit spurred ideas for Career Coaches to connect with their own municipalities to learn more about local opportunities for students.

We look forward to our next Career Coach Collective in 2022! We appreciate the great work of North Alabama’s Career Coaches, and we’re proud to partner with them in providing opportunities for students.