Sumter Chamber thanks businesses for participation in forum to help students

BY CORBETT MOORE
intern@theitem.com
Posted 7/21/19

Thanks to members of the Sumter business community, career leadership forums are making an impact on the futures of Sumter students.

Members of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee, the group responsible for coordinating …

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Sumter Chamber thanks businesses for participation in forum to help students

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Thanks to members of the Sumter business community, career leadership forums are making an impact on the futures of Sumter students.

Members of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee, the group responsible for coordinating the forums, expressed their gratitude to participating businessmen and women; members of the Sumter School District School Board, the district's superintendent, Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox, County Administrator Gary Mixon and Sumter County Council Chairman James McCain for their roles in the event's success on Thursday at the committee's third-annual thank you luncheon.

The luncheon, which was held at USC Sumter, both celebrated the success of past forums and worked to enhance forums for future students.

"One of the main issues we have is that a lot of kids here graduate and are trying to get on the first bus out of Sumter because they don't realize that there's anything here for them," committee member Lefford Fate said. "This is important to our businesses because in order for them to grow and make our community thrive, we need to keep good people here. It's important for these businesses to let them know that there really are opportunities for them here."

The Chamber's Education Committee created the Career Leadership Forum program as a platform for businesses to connect with students in a one-on-one environment.

The first forums introduced kids solely to the construction industry. Now, they also include jobs in manufacturing, engineering, public affairs, military and health care.

These six industries are represented in 12 total forums per year with 40 students in attendance at each event.

During the luncheon, Education Committee Chairman Dennis Turner, who is this year's Chamber board chair, challenged more businesses to get involved and help the forums grow to reach more students and introduce them to a more diverse group of industries in Sumter.

Students don't just learn about job opportunities through these events. They are also given the committee's list of nine success skills, which include learning how to manage money, accept personal responsibility, find and work with mentors and become part of the solution when a problem arises.

"These forums are a big part of what we do at the Chamber," said Chris Hardy, president and CEO of the Chamber. "We truly feel that out of all we do, education and preparing our students for their future is one of our most important jobs."

For more information about how you and your business can get involved, contact S.C. Department of Commerce regional workforce adviser Brenda Golden at (803) 651-1893.