Your business can impact schools

Columbia, TENN. –

Maury County Businesses Provide Donations, Volunteer Hours and Workforce Training Opportunities for Students

As the #GrowMaury education campaign takes hold throughout Maury County, many area businesses are making active investments in learning, a survey shows. Several of the county’s most prominent companies and business leaders are entrenching themselves in the education landscape in order to prepare students for college and the workforce. Many of these leaders serve as tnAchieves mentors, while others offer internship and shadowing opportunities.

Several Maury County businesses provide internship and shadowing programs for area students. General Motors and W.R. Grace both partner with Maury County Public Schools and the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance to offer manufacturing camps to high school students. GM’s manufacturing camp allows students to take part in a two-day simulated work environment. Ibex Global, a call center in Spring Hill, holds customer service classes that help Spring Hill High School students develop their communication skills.
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Meanwhile, CLARCOR Innovation Center works with faculty and administrators at Mt. Pleasant High School to identify ways to support the local community, including job shadowing and internships aligned with Mt. Pleasant’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives.

Maury Regional Medical Center helps students determine potential career paths through its Medical Applications of Science for Health (MASH) program. MASH is coordinated by the hospital’s Volunteer Services Department and offers opportunities for students to work within the hospital for two weeks during the summer. Individuals observe different aspects of the healthcare field in order to find specific areas of interest.

Only 36 percent of high school students choose college majors that fit their interests, according to advising firm College Coach. However, research indicates that students who participate in internship and shadowing programs are more likely to find majors and career paths that use their interests and skills.

“We are incredibly grateful to the companies who provide students with these opportunities,” said Maury County Director of Schools Dr. Chris Marczak. “We are passionate about teaching students in the classroom, but we also recognize that some lessons must be learned through practical experience, and we are thankful so many area companies share that vision.”

Industry supports Maury County’s education system in many ways beyond job shadowing. One of the most beneficial methods of support is through sponsorship initiatives, according to Marczak. Company sponsorship dollars can go a long way toward funding extracurricular programs. For instance, local Burger King franchise owners Con and George Vrailas commit thousands of dollars each year to fund yearbooks and other student organizations. They also manage the “School Give Back Program,” wherein each Thursday a different school receives a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds.

Although financial donations and practical experience are important ways businesses can get involved in area education, individuals have a role to play as well. Many area business leaders serve as mentors for the state-wide tnAchieves program, an initiative that equips college seniors to make the transition into higher education. Mentors help students complete the requirements necessary to receive funding for college and convey their own experiences to prepare them for life beyond high school.

Notably, Maury County exceeded its mentor goal for the 2015-16 school year, receiving 134 volunteers for its 128 slots. Some notable Maury County business leaders that serve as mentors are:

Julius Johnson – Commissioner, Department of Agriculture

Barry L. Daniels – President, CFS – Printing and Promotional Products

Ed Lancaster – General Counsel and Secretary – Farm Bureau

Jan McKeel – Executive Director, South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance

Jason L. Tate – Advanced Product Development Manager, CLARCOR

Pamela M Nelson – Global Process Safety Manager, Cytec Solvay

Claire Sellers – Media Relations Specialist, Duck River EMC

Holly Thompson – Camelot Care

Kim Willis – Construction Consultant

If you are interested in giving time, resources or internship opportunities to Maury County schools, contact the MCPS offices at (931) 388-8403. To learn more about becoming a tnAchieves mentor, visit

About Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance:
 The Mission of The Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance is to facilitate business opportunities for Chamber members and create job growth through economic development. For more information about Maury Alliance, visit

About Maury County Public Schools:
 The mission of Maury County Public Schools is to provide the educational instruction, tools and environment for every child to succeed in LIFE (Life-long learners, Independent thinkers, Fearless innovators and Exemplary citizens). For more information from MCPS, visit

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