10 Ways You Can Help Shape Lexington’s Future Workforce

Since launching Academies within Bryan Station, Frederick Douglass and Tates Creek high schools last fall, we’ve received an incredible amount of support from the community. From families to businesses, to individuals and organizations—the energy and excitement surrounding our approach to doing education differently has been sweeping through Lexington. To continue to provide our Academy students with hands-on, real-world learning experiences that prepare them to succeed in a 21st century economy, we must all continue to work together.

We’re often asked, “How can I get involved?” or “I want to help, but what can I do?” The answer is that there are many ways to join The Academies of Lexington movement. The following are just a few examples of how businesses, individuals and organizations can support Academies to create a brighter future right here in Lexington.

1. Be a guest speaker

Guest speakers offer fresh perspectives and bring real-world applications to the classroom. Whether you’re interested in lending career advice or specific industry insights, we’d love to hear what ideas and topics you’d like to share with our Academy students.

2. Judge a competition

Feedback from professionals is crucial to our students as they continue to learn and grow throughout their Academy experience. By being a “judge” for  classroom presentations and projects, you can promote critical learning opportunities for improvement, as well as provide support.

3. Participate in career and industry events

Academies offer various events and activities that bring real-life professionals and industries directly to students. For example, our Career Exploration fair for freshman, Mission: Exploration, brought professionals from nearly 40 local organizations to Bryan Station High School to offer hands-on experiences and promote open dialogue about careers.

4. Volunteer

Volunteers are welcome at several Academy events and activities!  Whether it’s an award celebration, faculty appreciation day or a field trip, there are many ways to lend a helping hand.

5. Provide a teacher externship

Externships promote continuous improvement for our Academy teachers, helping them bring real-world experiences into the classroom. These opportunities allow teachers to get a firsthand look at the industry-specific skills their students will need to be competitive in the future.

6. Offer job shadowing opportunities

By allowing an Academy student to observe you in your everyday work environment, they’ll get a firsthand look at what being in the workforce is like. It’s also a great way for students to confirm (or re-evaluate) their own future career goals.

7. Host a field trip

Field trips are a great way for industry and businesses to expose Academy students to various fields. From visits to local manufacturing facilities to touring hospitals, field trips provide important learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

8. Be a mentor

Being a mentor is a wonderful way to not only help prepare Academy students for life after high school, but to also forge meaningful relationships that positively influence our youth. We welcome both career and project-specific mentors to work directly with small groups of students.

9. Host an intern

 As the workforce becomes increasingly competitive, gaining professional experience before college graduation is more important than ever. Providing an internship is an excellent way to allow Academy students to see and participate in your industry, as well as get valuable experience.

10. Get creative!

If you have an idea that’s not on this list, we’d love to hear it! Part of what makes the Academy model so special is our ability to shift and evolve with the world around us—so we always welcome new ideas from the community.

Opportunities for Academy students to learn from local professionals, explore in-demand industries and get a glimpse at life after high school are all made possible by those who share our vision for shaping Lexington’s next generation of leaders.  Through the collective support of families, businesses, educators and the community, we can not only positively impact the futures of our Academy students—we will strengthen economic development and community prosperity in Lexington.

If you’d like to get involved or share ideas with us, please contact:

Natalie Shepard

Partnership Manager, Business & Education Network