Students are going to help some of Hamilton’s businesses solve problems this summer

A new program is giving area students experience in the workplace.

The Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement and Hamilton Young People Empowered (H.Y.P.E.) are partnering to provide Youth LED (Leadership Empowerment Development).

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During the program, students will learn problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity skills. It will be taught by community and business leaders and include visits to local businesses, including Barclaycard, Cohen, Hamilton Caster, Hamilton City School District, LemonGrenade Creative, Lindenwald Kiwanis Club, StarTek and Vinylmax Windows.

Dan Bates, the chamber’s president and CEO, said the program is the first of its kind in Hamilton.

“The employers host the kids for half a day, they learn about the employer, they actually have a chance to work with the employees of that employer and they are given a challenge,” Bates said. “When they come back, they have to present to the employer how they would solve that challenge and the challenge is unique to the company.”

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Additionally, guest speakers and training will help prepare students for future jobs and careers.

Dave Lippert, president of Hamilton Caster, said the company is pleased to involve itself with this and other programs.

“The best way that any of today’s youth are going to know what’s out there and what they might want to do is to get some idea of what things are,” he said. “If they never see the inside of a manufacturing company or an office … they have no idea what’s there in terms of job opportunities, education required and all that kind of stuff.”

Lippert said it is incumbent on employers to participate in such programs.

“It’s much better when they go to a workplace then if somebody from the workplace goes and talks to them in a classroom,” he said. “Even with decent slides, it’s going to be nowhere near the same experience than when they actually set foot in a workplace.”

The free, eight-week program launched this month for students going into grades nine through 12. The Youth LED program aims to build upon Shaquila Mathews’ Pastor Shaq Job & Mentoring Youth Program, which takes place on eight consecutive Fridays during the summer starting in June.

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