A $3,000 grant was awarded to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce to fund their upcoming Path Fair and work-based learning tours.
This is the first time the chamber has won the 2018 College Access Grant. Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Shelley Davis said they plan to use the money on a new career path event and the work-based learning program already in place at Hall County and Gainvesville City Schools.
The first event is a 7th Grade Career Path Fair on March 15 where 500 students from Gainesville and Hall County Schools will be able to explore different career paths with about 40 local businesses.
"These students, around this age, have the opportunity to pick from about 15 to 20 career path clusters that they focus on during their high school career," said Davis. "Well, we want to offer them the opportunity to see employers and what they do and what they make, and how that might connect to the career path they have the opportunity to chose from.
"The concern is that many 7th graders only a few career options. And we want them to see all the options before they make a choice at such a young age."
Davis said the GHCC is partnering with University of North Georgia Gainesville for the inaugural event. She added they do have a few spaces open for interested businesses; those businesses should contact her.
Some of the money will also go towards the work-based learning program, allowing 90 students to visit nine manufacturing companies over the course of three days.
"The reason we chose manufacturing is because manufacturing and goods-producing employs 33 percent of all of the people employed in Hall County. 33 percent, more than a third of the pie, is involved in manufacturing currently. That's not a number that's been going down, that's a number that's consistently going up in Hall County and it's three times the state average," said Davis.
"We need these students to know that not only that they can get jobs in manufacturing but that also there are careers in manufacturing and this is a way for them to start early on."
Davis said the GHCC partners with Hall County and Gainesville City Schools, University of Georgia, the Hallmark Initiative and Vision 2030, among others, to make the student programs possible.
The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education announced the grant awards to Hall County and five other chamber of commerce organizations on Tuesday.