Today, more than 3,000 students and educators came from all over the region to participate in SCK LAUNCH Experience, a hands-on career expo for 8th graders held each year in Bowling Green. In this second year of the event, attendance numbers have nearly doubled as the event has expanded from Bowling Green Independent and Warren County Schools to include 11 of 14 districts in South Central Kentucky as well as Adair County and two local private schools. In 2016, the event was hosted by 38 business partners and welcomed over 1,700 students. 2017’s event includes 43 business partners and more than 2,800 students.
The fourth tactic in the SCK LAUNCH Community Plan, SCK LAUNCH Experience is a series of 8 in-school exploration lessons relevant to the in-demand career sectors that drive our economy. These lessons culminate in an off-site “Experience” Expo providing hands-on activities that help the students make a relevant link between the curriculum and careers as well as the educational pathways that lead to those careers. Through the curriculum, each student receives nearly 8 hours of exploration in the career sectors that drive our economy. This year, every student in South Central Kentucky’s 14 public school districts, Adair County, and 2 private schools had access to the lessons regardless of whether or not they attended the event. That equates to over 3,200 students in our region that have had the opportunity to learn more about careers available to them in South Central Kentucky.
Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Chamber noted, “Experience is a vital piece of the SCK LAUNCH initiative. It is the first opportunity for students to begin to understand the concept of careers and exploring their interests. We have an abundance of opportunities here in South Central Kentucky, and it’s vital that we let our students know that they can have a successful career right here at home. I would like to thank the companies who took the time to plan these impressive exhibits and the educators who spent valuable class time opening their students’ minds to the careers they will see at this event. I am delighted to see all of these students here today and I look forward to seeing these faces well into the future as they return to these companies as employees and leaders of the future. ”
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 builds on and enhances work already in progress 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 is a national model for best practices in comprehensive career immersion at all levels of education.
Bowling Green Independent School Superintendent Gary Fields said, “We appreciate the Chamber of Commerce, local business and industry, and the faculty and staff at Bowling Green High School for collaborating to create such a great opportunity for 8th grade students. More than a traditional career fair, the SCK LAUNCH Experience allows students to spend moments with professionals and truly experience the roles of various careers in our community. Our region has become a model in workforce development, partnering in efforts to prepare transition-ready students, graduates, and future employees.”
According to Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton, “The SCK Launch experience is a unique opportunity for our middle school students to engage with community leaders through a fun and interactive career exploration experience. Students will become more knowledgeable about the diverse range of career paths which exist throughout our region and they will walk away from this event with a better understanding of the necessary skillsets required within each career sector. Equitable opportunities are at the forefront of our commitment to families, and experiences such as SCKLAUNCH allow us to reach all of our kids through a practical experience. I want to thank the Chamber and their partners for investing their resources in our students, our community, and our future.”
To learn more about the initiative and available volunteer opportunities, please contact Meredith Rozanski or Sandra Baker at the Chamber or visit the initiative website at SCKLAUNCH.com.
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.