HOPE – Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley presented local business and industry representatives interested in employing Hope High School students in the Bobcats Work apprenticeship initiative a framework for their participation in the program during a Hempstead Hall gathering March 17.
Dr. Crossley announced an April 1 student introduction program which he likened to the idea of “speed dating” during which some 20 HHS junior and senior students will meet representatives of participating businesses and companies. The 11 a.m. session will be conducted at Hempstead Hall, Crossley said.
He said students have indicated interests in five areas of employment through the program, including Hands-on jobs, Retail trade, Fast food jobs, Library/Education operations, and Veterinary services.
“Bobcats Work” is a junior and senior level high school employment skills development and experience partnership placing eligible Hope High School students directly into the local workforce. Participating businesses and industry in Hope provide paid or unpaid positions for students to acquire skills and gain work experience to become productive post-graduation employees of their partner business or industry.
The program also segues into the partnership in the Hope Collegiate Academy and the Career and Technical Center at the University of Arkansas-Hope.
“This will not be a buttoned-up lay-of-the-land, everything is perfect deal,” Crossley said. “This is very much about the economy of Hope and Hempstead County; and it is equally about mentoring.”
He said the initiative is as much an effort to provide opportunity that can be translated into a high school diploma and a career path to a college degree or technical certification as it is to help students earn experience and income.
“Keep in mind that these are students,” Crossley said.
Flexibility will become a key component for employers as students are required to meet participation standards by the HPS designed to help ensure their success. But, Crossley emphasized that the relationship between participating economic partners and the HPS is more than the legal relationship established through the HPS Memorandum of Understanding each partner signs.
“There will be portions of this that will need to change,” he noted. “We want this to be a training ground for your organization.”