Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Area School Districts Kick Off SCK LAUNCH Talent Development Initiative

Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017 10:30 am

Today, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Bowling Green Independent School District, and the Warren County School District kicked off the SCK LAUNCH talent initiative that will be piloted in both school districts beginning this summer. 

SCK LAUNCH stands for Learning About Unique and New Careers Here and is an overarching talent development strategy aimed at helping raise student career awareness, develop employability skills and empower students to leverage their options upon graduation.

SCK LAUNCH is a collective effort of the community intended to inspire the powerful education and business partnerships necessary to create the talent pipeline for high-demand sectors to grow the South Central Kentucky economy. The initiative will build on and enhance work already going on in Bowling Green and Warren County high schools to offer career shadowing, educator externships, career academies, and employability skills training as a way to inspire students and provide valuable learning opportunities that engage their personal interest and career aspirations. SCK LAUNCH Experience, a hands-on career expo and curriculum held annually for area 8th graders is also a part of the newly launched initiative. This year’s expo will take place on November 16th at the Bowling Green High School Arena. 

“The collaborative community approach of SCK LAUNCH builds on the work of the Leader in Me, as well as efforts to ensure students graduate from high school, college and/or career ready,” said Gary Fields, Superintendent of Bowling Green Independent Schools. “The opportunities provided by our Chamber of Commerce, our local businesses, and industry are beyond what we could offer in the school buildings alone. All of the SCK LAUNCH components provide real, relevant career exploration to help students make decisions for the future. The work of SCK LAUNCH is a great testament to our community’s investment in our students and schools, as well as our region’s future workforce.”

According to Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton, “Two of our top priorities in Warren County Public Schools are Ensuring Student Learning and Ensuring Student Opportunities.  The SCK LAUNCH partnership with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce allows us to take those commitments to the next level through a unique ‘hands-ons’ experience designed to provide our students with skills and experiences that will lay the foundation for a successful future as they leave WCPS. I am grateful for the Chamber’s commitment to excellence and for its partnership as it supports educators in giving every student strong opportunities."

Over the past several months, a Steering Committee of business and education partners and four tactic teams met regularly to design specific components of the plan including career shadowing, teacher externships, student led leadership, and communications and marketing. The group collectively wrote a Community Plan and designed toolkits which will serve as the roadmap for schools and businesses who are implementing the initiative. Henkel, Med Center Health, Independence Bank, and Stewart-Richey will be the first companies to offer teacher externship and career shadowing opportunities.

To develop this unique, first of its kind educational model the Chamber partnered with several entities: Ford NGL and Alignment USA helped the team envision pathway and academy models, Covey principles led the teams’ work on employability skills, and Gallup work experience indicators helped inform the career shadowing modules.

“Today is an exciting day for Bowling Green and Warren County,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Chamber. “In 2011, the business community raised $1.4 million to ensure The Leader In Me was available in every public school in Bowling Green and Warren County. That was a brave first step – and a national first - toward ensuring the quality of the future workforce of this community. Today, we take another giant leap – with another national model - in ensuring that our students are empowered to leverage their options upon graduation. I would like to thank the Bowling Green Independent and Warren County School Districts for their vision and their commitment and we look forward to continuing to work with them as we implement this exciting initiative.” 

”Warren County is a thriving community that continues to grow and prosper. I am delighted today to celebrate the kick off of the SCK LAUNCH initiative and I look forward to watching the further development of our community as our business and educational communities collaborate and create a world-class pool of talent. I offer my congratulations and my thanks to all the businesses and educators that have served on the steering committee and tactic teams, and also to those businesses that have already stepped up to contribute,” said Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon. 

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson noted, “I am delighted to celebrate this exciting announcement today. The unmatched collaboration between businesses, students, and educators creates powerful linkages to the community that will serve us for decades to come. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.” 

To learn more about the initiative and available volunteer opportunities, please contact Meredith Robinson or Sandra Baker at the Chamber or visit the initiative website at SCKLAUNCH.com. 

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About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.