First Graduating Class of Caldwell Youth Leadership
A select group of 24 eighth graders becomes the first graduating class of Caldwell Youth Leadership, a leadership development program in partnership with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) and the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce designed specifically for middle school students to experience the workplace first-hand and become more informed about career choices.
The Class of 2019, three selected from each middle school in the district, visited businesses and gleaned information on career opportunities from these experiences, learning about jobs ranging in levels of education and qualifications. “They observed and practiced different leadership skills that will help them become better prepared when developing their own career path,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps.
The Caldwell Youth Leadership program began in October and concluded this week at a ceremonious etiquette dinner with family and community members. During the event, students reflected on the program’s field trips over the last five months to Blue Ridge Energy in Lenoir, Aiken Controls, Excela, MDI, UNC Healthcare, and Fairfield Chair Company. There they embarked on tours of the facilities and explored career offerings. Students also created and voted on the program’s logo in October with the winning team members from Kings Creek School receiving Chromebooks provided by the Education Foundation Inc. of Caldwell County.
“We introduced these students to different jobs and corporate cultures in our community,” said Ben Willis, Co-Coordinator of Caldwell Youth Leadership and CCC&TI Director of Small Business Center.
Students generously endorsed the program. “The Youth Leadership program was a phenomenal experience and a very eye-opening experience,” said Emma Ingram of Granite Falls Middle School. “I never knew how many jobs and opportunities were here in Caldwell County.”
“This is a unique experience for our future leaders,” said Dr. Jeff Church, Co-Facilitator and Associate Superintendent of the Caldwell County Schools. “After months of encouragement to be inquisitive, ask questions and be open-minded, they have become the new voice for youth leadership development.”