Facilities Management Human Resources department recently began its second-annual summer Career Connections program.
The Career Connections program offers high school students a career pathway by raising awareness and building relationships through the different types of jobs and services at Facilities Management.
A goal of the program is to educate the students’ parents of the benefits and rewards of working with Facilities Management because most parents want their kids to go to college, without thinking about the trades.
“I sent out a lot of information to the parents that let them know there are good careers that aren’t necessarily college driven,” said Loren Winn, director of Facilities Management Human Resources. “I also let them know if they do want their child to go to college, they can work for us full time and get a free college education.”
Human Resources invited students ranging from Lee, Tallapoosa, Coosa and Macon Counties to apply through in-class programming and bringing them to tour Facilities Management.
“The application process was a standard AU TES application, and our initial goal when we opened the position was to have 15 students,” said Hayley White, Human Resources generalist.
Applications for the program closed May 12 with 40 applicants showing a significant interest in the program. This summer, 15 students are taking part in the program. This surpasses the Summer 2022 program of only seven students.
Students will undergo on-the-job training that fits within child labor laws in order to get a feel for the job as safely as possible. Students will also get the chance to build relationships as they shadow their designated supervisor to learn and grow in their aspiring skills.
Another goal of the program is to inform students of the jobs and careers available to them that they might not be aware of, helping them have a better understanding of what it’s like in these positions during the summer. Students have the option to work in Landscape Services, Utilities and Energy, Maintenance, or Campus Services.
“If you take a look at the workforce, for many years, they’ve talked about a skills gap where a lot of people are now retiring, with no one really coming into these positions,” Winn said. “So it’s important to inform students that there are very good careers in these fields.”
Students wear a pair of work boots, previous years’ safety T-shirts, neon yellow vests and a name badge. If you see students around the facility, make sure you say “Hey!”
Story by: Anna Branch