Adair County High School is demonstrating its rigorous dedication to college and career readiness with a new, community-minded program that debuted this school year. Adair Inc. will link students with community members in the students’ chosen career paths for lectures, job shadowing opportunities, and internships.
Developed as the career readiness answer to Indian University’s college readiness efforts, Adair Inc. is a grassroots mission that will benefit students, employers, and the community. The idea came directly from a local business owner and was subsequently expanded upon thanks to the efforts of Supt. Alan Reed, ACHS Principal Troy Young, Vice Principal Travis Gay, college and career readiness counselor Robin Loy, and curriculum resource specialist Barb Redmon, among several others.
“What I’m most impressed with is that this is a 100-percent local initiative,” Reed says. “It’s a local effort to get our students out into the business world to gain that valuable first-hand knowledge, and it also gives employers and other community members the chance to come onto our campus and speak directly to students about their experiences. The research is so clear on the importance of a high-quality internship and early work experience.”
One of the program’s first speakers was at the high school Wednesday to share his experiences to students in the newly instituted Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program. Staff Sgt. Shahid Iqbal, a member of the National Guard for more than 10 years and a state probation and parole officer in Adair County, explained the opportunities the Guard offered, how it opened doors for other career opportunities, and took questions from students.
“As an NCO, he has a unique perspective to share with the students,” JROTC instructor Capt. Justin Owens says. “It’s always great for students to be able to learn from multiple different soldiers and we appreciate having him here.”
Iqbal says his goal was to explain the various options afforded by a career in the military. “I might have a different viewpoint than Capt. Owens,” Iqbal explains. “There’s so many different areas you can go into with a career in the Guard, so I wanted to let them know about some of the things that they can do, how they can get an education, and how to establish another career while you’re still in the Guard.”
A unique aspect of Adair Inc. is that it benefits the community as much students. “We’re excited about it,” Gay says. “It’s great for community relations because employers get to know these kids and get a chance to meet and talk to some students that might be their future employees.”
Loy says that she hopes speakers like Iqbal coming to the school become a more frequent occurrence, and also plans for the shadowing and internship opportunities continue to grow as well. “We want to bring more awareness to employers and students about the different options available in our area and allow students to network with the people in their chosen career paths,” Loy says. “We’d love to have more people get involved.”
Any local professionals or business owners interested in joining Adair Inc. are encouraged to participate in the school’s upcoming career fair, scheduled for Oct. 7. For more information, contact the high school’s guidance office at (270) 384 2715.
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools