According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 3.6 million students are expected to graduate from high school in the 2017-18 school year.
That’s a lot of graduates looking to build their careers.
Luckily for students in the Midlands, there’s a way to get a jump on preparing for a future career with the Midlands Education and Business Alliance, or MEBA.
Since 1990, MEBA has impacted the Midlands workforce by connecting educators and students with area businesses. Working with K-12 education partners in Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties as well as business partners from all over the state, MEBA helps strengthen the greater community by striving to have every student off to a strong and intentional start to their career.
To help give students that boost of encouragement needed for the future, MEBA hosts several networking events for students to meet with businesses and is always looking for new ways to develop student-to-work opportunities.
Every fall, MEBA hosts a summit for educators to provide an in-depth exploration of workforce needs and opportunities to garner student engagement. The organization also partners with Colonial Life to provide educators with a unique 10-month experiential learning opportunity.
For those looking for real-world experience in the workplace, MEBA can help with that too, placing students in job-shadowing, internships, apprenticeships and mentoring opportunities. Also, in one year’s time, MEBA and its partners have developed a school to work transition program for non-diploma students to enter the workforce upon exiting high school this year. Students in the program develop construction skills through their high school career center and receive training from Midlands Technical College, on the job training and receive tools to start their career.
For MEBA’s business partners, the organization’s outreach efforts prove to be a great investment for building the talent pipeline. For some businesses, the partnership is a progressive approach to hiring, and for many industries and positions, the right talent is as close as a student’s graduation.
One of MEBA’s close partners, Midlands Technical College, has an open-door policy with the organization, allowing students to tour various equipment and facilities based on career interests. This can include anything from dental equipment to nursing beds to 3-D printers. The experience, according to MEBA Executive Director Mary Snipes, always garners “oohs” and “ahs” from students as they walk through workplace settings. The stimulation, Snipes says, brings out curiosity and drive and makes students aware of their place in society as a future worker.
During the 2016-17 school year, the MEBA team provided 227 presentations across our service district covering an array of workforce development issues including soft skills for students. On average, 850 educators and business professionals attend the organization’s workforce development networking each year.
With the help of the greater community, MEBA will be able to increase their capacity to reach even more students and businesses in the Midlands service area. Those looking to help MEBA’s mission can donate online at mebasc.com (both recurring and one-time payments are accepted) or by mail at P.O. Box 2408, Columbia, SC 29202.
MEBA is also always looking for people to help promote their cause, including business professionals who can come into classrooms and speak about their careers and offer advice and guidance to students. Visit mebasc.com and click on their “Get Involved” page to learn about opportunities. To learn more about partnering with MEBA and adding to your business’ HR toolbox, give MEBA a call at 803-822-3778.