Caldwell Youth Leadership Council explores careers at blue ridge energy

LENOIR, NC (October 18, 2018) — From a class of 900 eighth graders, a select group of 24 becomes the inaugural council of Caldwell Youth Leadership, a leadership development program in partnership with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) and the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce designed specifically for the middle school student who will start making career choices as early as freshmen in high school.

Aden Pennington of William Lenoir Middle School tries on a pair of Lineman work gloves

These eighth graders, three from each middle school in the district, will be exposed to a variety of career opportunities available in Caldwell County ranging from careers that require different levels of education, experience, and abilities. “They will learn strategic leadership skills that will help them become better informed and educated in developing their career path,” said Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps.

The Caldwell Youth Leadership program spans from October to January. This week students embarked on their first full-day field trip to Blue Ridge Energy in Lenoir. Before departing for their first business visit, students voted on the council’s logo, and the logo designed by students from Kings Creek School was announced the winner. As a winning prize, the three team members from Kings Creek School –Emma Coffey, Chloe Rotting, and Jacob Foust – were each given a Chromebook provided by the Education Foundation Inc. of Caldwell County.

“The kids were introduced to a variety of job opportunities at Blue Ridge Energy and learned about their corporate culture,” said Ben Willis, Co-Coordinator of Youth Leadership Caldwell.  “We enjoyed a lunch and learn at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and heard about the new Lineman Program, then proceeded to tour the pole yard where the students viewed the current class in action.”

Blue Ridge Energy day was one of four tours planned for the youth leaders. “This is a unique opportunity for our future leaders,” said Dr. Jeff Church, Co-Facilitator and Associate Superintendent of the Caldwell County Schools. “They will become ambassadors for youth leadership development, and we have encouraged them to be inquisitive, to ask questions and to be open-minded.”