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New program readies students for careers

With so many students graduating and going into the professional world, it is important for teachers to know that scholastic knowledge is now not the only focus for the classroom. In order to have students who are prepared to face the challenges in this ever-growing and social society, real world preparation is mandatory.

Michelle Myrick has returned to the world of education this year to teach the newest Jobs for Alabama Graduates (JAG) class at Greenville High School. Myrick has had the opportunity to see the programs that have come into play with the GHS Career Tech program and has seen first hand the importance of a class such as this. She, along with the other administrators, have noticed that while students might be leaving school with classroom knowledge, they are lacking certain real-world skills that will help them once they start pursuing careers.

The JAG class will help students cultivate resume writing skills, interview skills and etiquette, knowledge about multiple career opportunities and will give examples of professional clothing for work and interview settings.

“It’s to help them grow in confidence, build their self-esteem, let them know that they can succeed and I’m here to help them with everything. It’s like I told them, I’m not here just to succeed in JAG. I’m here for them to succeed in all of their classes and to prepare them for the next stage,” said Myrick.

The classes this year are split up into three groups with 12 students each, which gives the class more opportunity to get to know each other and work closely.

For this class, students are required to have a minimum of 10 service hours that can be served in the community or at school in various volunteer positions. Myrick does this to try and build relationships and familiarity between the students and the city.

“I also want to make it to where they are grounded in the community and where they feel part of the community,” she said.

Myrick believes that if students feel like they are stakeholders in the community, they will be more inclined to treat the city with respect and pursue career options in town if they choose to stay in Greenville.

JAG competitions will be held in the spring and will consist of public speaking tournaments and practicing math and problem solving skills. Throughout the year the class will compile a scrapbook to document the events they attend, the speakers that visit and the progress they make.

Speakers will be scheduled to attend the JAG classes every week in order to give the students a wide variety of job opportunities to explore. These speakers will be Greenville workers who will tell the students about their jobs, what they do and how they qualified for that position. Myrick hopes to have a speaker from each facet of employment around Greenville. With such a wide variety of options, she hopes that each student will find one of interest.

Toward the end of the year, the class will learn how to write checks, manage finances for fictional businesses and learn about different types of taxes.

“We try to hit on all the topics, stuff that people take for granted as far as getting ready for careers,” said Myrick.

The program seems promising and Myrick has high hopes for its success.

“We’re building from scratch and we’re learning as we go. The kids are excited. The classes are all full and I’m still having people come and ask, can I get into JAG,” said Myrick.