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Schools, employers begin Grow Local effort today

Kate Teel

Kate Teel


The Daily Reflector

Monday, March 18, 2019

More than 2,700 middle and high school students are visiting employers across Pitt County this week for the region’s largest effort to help develop a homegrown workforce.

Grow Local, a week-long initiative led by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Pitt County Development Commission, is placing students into fields that match their interests to educate them about jobs and careers available right here.

“The Chamber is dedicated to our community, local businesses and the future of our workforce,” Chamber President Kate Teel said in a news release about the event.

“We are excited to offer the Grow Local program to our future employees, allowing them the opportunity to experience what their future may hold, and putting them in contact with local business leaders to help them connect the dots from where they are now, to where they could end up, just a few years down the road.”

Developed in conjunction with NC Students@Work Month, Grow Local is the largest effort of its kind in eastern North Carolina, the chamber reported. It is designed to create and unveil career interests, grow the talent pipeline, and connect local businesses to future employees.

The program has registered 2,734 middle and high school students to participate in on- or off-campus experiences, giving them the opportunity to learn more about all career opportunities available within their host business.

More than 100 businesses and institutions are participating in the effort along with Pitt County Schools, Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County and the Pitt County Education Foundation.

From tours of local businesses, conversations with business leaders and hands-on activities, Teel said students will have a first-hand experience with a day in the life of an employee in a field relevant to curriculum they are studying in their class.

The event begins today with students from 18 classes varying in size from 16 to 30 students heading out for sessions at ECU, Greenville Utilities, Vidant Medical Center, the Hilton, Greenville Convention Center, Pitt Community College and The Daily Reflector.

Students Monday will represent Ayden-Grifton, J.H. Rose, South Central and D.H. Conley high schools and Wellcome Middle School.

Many participants will gather at 9 a.m. at Hyster Yale for a kick-off event with Teel, Pitt County Schools Superintendent Ethan Lenker and others. Hyster Yale, a lift truck manufacturer, will be hosting students from the Foundations of Engineering class at Rose.

More schools and employers will be joining the program to participate throughout the week.

To find out more about Grow Local, visit www.greenvillenc.org/growlocal.


The Daily Reflector this week is hosting 60 students from South Central and North Pitt high schools as part of the Grow Local initiative.

Students will tour the paper and participate in discussions and exercises about why journalism matters and the future of journalism.

Staffers at the Reflector will work with the groups to help them report on their visit and produce content for online and print editions.

Students will be encouraged to post about their visit in real time on social media, and the Reflector staff will be document the experience with them.

Check for stories online and in the paper. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #reflectorfalcons today, #reflectorpanthers on Tuesday and #reflectoreducates both days.