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Hawkins student visit Cooper Standard as part of LEAP

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR • Oct 30, 2017 at 12:25 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — On Oct. 20 students from all three high schools in Hawkins County participated in the 2017 Manufacturing/LEAP Day event organized and hosted by Cooper Standard in Phipps Bend Industrial Park.

Students had the opportunity to hear a short presentation from Cooper engineers, human resource employees as well as former and current student interns.

Cooper Standard Human Resources Manager Gabrielle Buchanan and Hawkins County Schools CTE Director Wes Smith presented information to the students about the Work Ethic diploma and ACT’s National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) and how those initiatives are part of the Labor Education Alignment Program in Hawkins County.

The Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) is a program that works with educators and employers to identify and close skills gaps that hinder the economic development of communities throughout the state.

In January 2015, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) awarded $10 million in state-funded LEAP grants to twelve local programs across the state. Hawkins County, as part of the Strengthening the Lakeway Links grant with Hamblen and Grainger Counties, regional industry partners, and TCAT Morristown, was among those awarded LEAP grants.

In 2016, a second round of LEAP grants was awarded and Cocke, Sevier, Greene, and Greeneville City schools joined the original partners in expanding the impact of the original LEAP grant initiatives including the Work Ethic Diploma and NCRC.

Wes Smith said, “Cooper Standard has been with us since the beginning of the LEAP grant work.

We have developed a terrific partnership with them and appreciate all they do for the students in Hawkins County.

We put a lot of effort into trying to communicate the importance of the NCRC and Work Ethic Diploma to our students, but it can be really eye opening for them when they hear it directly from the management team at one of our industry partners like Cooper Standard.

We want our graduates to leave with the tools needed to be prepared for college and career to enable them to become productive citizens and successful members of the workforce.”

Gabrielle Buchanan said, “We appreciate the Hawkins County School System working so closely with local industries in the area. Together, we can build a stronger, more qualified workforce that can meet the dynamic business requirements. This, in turn, will attract business and industry to invest in our community”.

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