SOURCE: Richmond.com

HANOVER – Ready. Set. Hire. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Workforce Development Committee of the Hanover Business Council of the Greater Richmond Chamber organized the event that was hosted at The Hanover Center for Trades and Technology.

It brings together businesses, students, parents and key workforce stakeholders to highlight the benefits of the education and job skill training offered by the region’s career and technical centers.

“Hanover’s successful model inspired this year’s series, which also kicked off in Henrico [County] last Wednesday and Chesterfield’s Ready. Set. Hire [event] is in February of next year,” Mark Creery, chair of the Hanover Business Council of the Greater Richmond Chamber, said. “We started this program several years ago in Hanover. It’s been a success and other counties are doing similar things.”

During Ready. Set. Hire. students were given the opportunity to talk with local business partners that already work in the industry to help prepare them for a successful career in the field of their choosing.

Employers at the event also were able to meet and make connections with students that may one day be employees.

“Tonight, students are having the opportunity to participate in a fairly rigorous exercise but more importantly this is a very relevant exercise,” Dr. Michael Gill, incoming superintendent for Hanover County Public Schools, said. “Any opportunity that we can give to prepare students beyond the brick and mortar of the classroom is one that we see as relevant and nothing can be more relevant than doing something that is going to serve them well no matter what career they decide to take place in.”

Following brief speeches by some of the event’s sponsors and supporters, teachers at The Hanover Center for Trades and Technology separated into groups according to their field, which included automotive technology and small engine technology, carpentry and electricity, cosmetology, culinary arts and HVAC/R.

Students went to the classroom that represented the field they are interested in to learn more about the education and training offered.

Teachers explained and further elaborated on some of the valuable work skills that students who participate in the programs at The Hanover Center for Trades and Technology walk away with.

Local business partners also were at the event conducting mock interviews with students to provide them with feedback on ways to make them more marketable in today’s employment environment.

“We all know that all education is valuable, but the education that prepares young people for success that’s practical, that’s based in real-world needs and meets the needs of students and meets the needs of the business community that’s a real gold standard that strengthens our community and strengthens our economy and makes us all stronger,” Glenn Birch of Virginia Credit Union said.

Food and refreshments were prepared by The Hanover Center for Trade and Technology’s culinary students.

Ready. Set. Hire was sponsored by Trane, Fire Solutions, Bass Pro Shops and Tyson’s Food Inc. and the presenting sponsor was Dominion.

“I see kids come in slightly, you know, lacking direction, and they get into the kitchen lab and their eyes light up, they’re not sleepy anymore, they’re really go-getter active kind of kids then,” Brian Hubler, one of the culinary instructors, said. “It’s a night and day difference and to see that — even going from our classroom to the kitchen is just, you know — they just light up. And to see that every day, you can’t really complain about it.”

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