A new program is helping Grandview Heights High School students learn about the workaday world without having to leave the school building.
Business owners from the Grandview and Marble Cliff areas visit the school once a month to talk about their professions, the education and skills their jobs require, and the pros and cons of working in their fields.
The program is a partnership between the high school and the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce.
"Since I came here, I've had professionals come in and speak to my classes, but this program allows the entire school to hear from them," said Tony Thivener, the high school's work program instructor.
Three local professionals visit the school on the third Thursday of the month, he said.
Ahead of their visit, all high school students are given biographies of each speaker and information about their profession, Thivener said.
The students pick two of the three visitors whose presentations they want to hear, he said.
"It's so much better for them to hear about the work world firsthand than just learning about it in a classroom," Thivener said.
Nationwide, schools need to do a better job of preparing students for their lives after high school by helping them zero in on what careers may interest them, he said.
"A student doesn't necessarily need to know exactly what job they want to have, but it is important for them to have some idea of the fields that might interest them," Thivener said.
"A lot of students go to college without an inkling of what they may want to study. When you think about how much college costs, it's a waste of a lot of money."
The speakers discuss both the pros and cons of their fields, so students can think about whether the career area is one that suits their talents and interests, he said.
The district approached the chamber about participating in the program at a fortuitous time, chamber Director Michelle Wilson said.
"After our inaugural gala last spring, we were in the process of creating a workforce development fund," she said. "The timing couldn't have been better."
The Joelle M. Khouzam Workforce Development Fund will provide scholarship money for students and grants to local businesses to help offset hiring and training costs for student internships and apprenticeships, Wilson said.
"We're so excited to be part of this partnership," she said. "It's something our members are really enjoying."
The gala is planned as an annual event to benefit the workforce development fund, Wilson said.
"The response from our local business community has been so great," Thivener said. "Our goal now is to really build up the program so that we not only have people coming in to speak, but who are offering shadowing and internship opportunities for our students."
Local businesspeople who would like to participate in the program may send an email to Thivener at firstname.lastname@example.org or Wilson at email@example.com.