The Boys and Girls Club Career Academy hosted by East AlabamaWorks, Alabama Power, and Gadsden State Community College was recently honored with the The Chamber of Gadsden & Etowah County’s Excellence in Education Award for Community Collaboration.

The BGC Career Academy hosted 20 members of the Boys and Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah County for a day-long event that featured visits to local industries and tours of the healthcare and technical programs at Gadsden State Community College.

The goal of the program was to expose high school aged club members to career and educational opportunities beyond their high school days. Many of the students served by the Boys and Girls Club don’t give much thought to their post-high school years because of the challenges and barriers they face. The Career Academy showed the students that education and training, with a pathway to a high-wage, high-demand career, is within their reach.

Participating students toured Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Inteva Products, Koller Craft, and Keystone Foods. They also heard presentations from Gadsden State President, Dr. Martha Lavender and Alabama Power’s Tony Smoke, along with some lessons on employability skills and financial aid programs.

As a result of the Career Academy, the collaborative partners now have an on-going relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah County and the Gadsden State Cardinal Foundation created a Boys and Girls Club Career Academy Scholarship. The first recipient of the BGC Career Academy Scholarship was Jamaya Walker from Gadsden City High School.

The academy also helped to spearhead the club’s new Career Launch program which was recently approved for a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth Grant.