Many of Gateway’s initiatives are built around developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that youth need to obtain and participate in productive work. Our activities in this area work to bring the private and public sector together to ensure that education improves both the workforce readiness and technical skills necessary for youth to build a solid foundation and an understanding of career pathing options available right here in Baldwin County.

The COVID-19 Pandemic was challenging time for every industry, especially education. As the restrictions began to slowly lift this spring, the Gateway Team was excited to have the opportunity to have one-on-one time with high school students and teachers. "We are looking forward to working with Baldwin County Schools this summer and upcoming 2021-2022 school year to inform staff and students about the many pre-apprenticeship opportunities available, some starting as early as 9th grade," said Tyler Morgan-Brunson of the Gateway Team. Gateway's recent activities in our local schools are geared towards supporting workforce opportunities for Baldwin County youth. 

Baldwin County Guidance & Career Coach Counselor’s Work-Based Learning Workshop
Early in May the Gateway Team joined forces with Coastal Alabama Community College to organize a workshop to show guidance counselors and career coaches from Baldwin County’s public and private schools innovative ways to introduce work-based learning to their curriculum. The major focus was to provide a template for the initiation of Pre-Apprenticeship in technical fields already being offered by the schools. Students can enter into a pre-apprenticeship program at the age of 16 and begin to fulfill the requirements of a registered apprenticeship while satisfying high school graduation requirements. In addition, most pre-apprenticeships come with the opportunity of receiving college credit through dual enrollment and paid employment. “As a result of the workshop, we have had counselors reach out to begin the process of registering a pre-apprenticeship in fields that lead to high-demand, high-wage jobs in Baldwin County," said Tyler with the Gateway Team. Counselors were also real-world examples of the apprenticeship model through presentations by Panini Pete Restaurant Group and Kerby Customer Renovations. The Gateway team will continue to work towards building pre-apprenticeships across the region to support the workforce needs.

Foley High School Career Fair
In April the Gateway Team organized a Career Fair for juniors and seniors at Foley High School. Twelve businesses attended and had the opportunity to speak to organized groups of students on the attributes and job opportunities their company offers. After each session (where three businesses presented) the students had the chance to meet the HR representatives, spend some one-on-one time, and fill out applications. “This was the best-organized job fair we have participated in,” said Jenn Murray with Gulf State Park Lodge by Valor. She went on to say “we love the format and will participate whenever Gateway calls”.

Focus on Career Preparedness
Each year our County schools organize mock interviews as part of a curriculum requirement in career preparation. The Gateway team works to bring industry professionals to the schools and participates personally in the program. According to Sally Westendorf, “a mock interview emulates a job interview, with students being given an opportunity to get first-hand experience of the interview process. The interviewer can be an alumnus, a career coach, or any individual who has experience in his/her field”. Call to Action - if you are interested in participating in future mock interviews, please contact a Gateway team member.