By Abby Gibbs
Thursday morning began like many others in Mauldin with school buses and families heading to take their students to schools in and surrounding the city. We have more than 5,500 students going to and from school every day to Mauldin Elementary, Bethel Elementary, Greenbrier Elementary, Mauldin Middle, and Mauldin High School. But, along with that, we have businesses developing in and around the city who are either new to the area, expanding or in steady growth and looking for more trained and skilled employees.
This began the discussions to bring the leadership from the world of education and the world of business together to begin deeper discussions of developing a new concept for “workforce development”. Even as the schools interact more now, preparing elementary students for middle and high school then for further education and all eventually toward profitable careers.
The City of Mauldin hosted the first-ever gathering of these educators and workforce leadership together for a “Red Carpet Breakfast” sponsored by VLS Recovery of Mauldin.
Guests were greeted and introductions began around the tables during the breakfast meal as welcomes were officially shared by David Hammond, President of the Board of Directors for the Greater Mauldin Chamber of Commerce and representing Laurens Electric Coop. Pat Pomeroy, Director of the Mauldin Chamber shared information membership packets to become a part of the Mauldin Chamber network. Taft Matney from the Mauldin City Council led the invocation.
A time of introductions and recognition was shared by Mauldin Mayor, Dennis Raines. The attendance and support of the City of Mauldin was re-emphasized by Mayor Raines for our local schools and for the businesses who were present. To encourage this dialogue and not only begin but to continue toward tangible results of students realizing support and training in various fields of expertise by those companies represented and others who have expressed interest, but unable to attend. The meeting was attended by 40 representatives from businesses such as VLS Recovery, Network Controls Electrical, Maillis Strapping System, Sealed Air Corporation, Kellett’s Korner, BMW, and Michelin. The educational community was well represented with representatives from Greenville County Schools, members of GADC, Bethel, Greenbrier, Mauldin Elementary Principals, PTA Leadership, and Mauldin High School Principal Mike Peake.
Guest speaker: Dr. W. Burke Royster, Superintendendent of Greenville County Schools, gave an incredible presentation to further explain the direction of workforce development, curriculum, and guidance in these areas for students.
Dr. Royster shared “We have the opportunity to share with students a vast array of career paths and to provide them with the knowledge, skills and characteristics they need to reach their goals! If students are not ready for the college path; then, we want to offer other options that continues toward their success!”
Terry Mills who is department head of construction for Greenville County Schools shared the specific design plans for the new Fountain Inn High School that will begin construction in late summer of 2019. He expects a completion date in 2021. This new school will actually house areas of vocational classes to encourage development toward workforce skills.
Time was given for questions and answers by both Dr. Royster and Mr. Mills. The main question from the guests was how they can become more involved and give support to these concepts. Now that awareness is being introduced through meetings like those of the Red Carpet Breakfast. The businesses and school leadership were encouraged to be in closer communication with each other and establish methods of both financial support and pathways for introducing students to skills and trades needed in the business world for which they could be mentored or do internships and provide hands-on training.
This was a huge step toward developing and encouraging communication with school and business leaders in being more involved in the success of each and every student as they plan and work toward their career objectives.
The next information and communication session will be planned for early Spring, 2018 by the City of Mauldin.
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