FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A new program is combing business and education to give students a leg up on their future.
“We feel like this program can really positively impact our community and our whole county,” said Faith Truesdale with the Clemson Extension of Florence County.
The Junior Leadership Florence program is launching in August.
The program is all about giving Florence County students, from different backgrounds and social statures, a chance to see how big of an impact they can make right here at home.
“There will be a different focus each month that we can expose these students to so that they can see the opportunities in our county and they can become aware of the needs within out county and how they can make a difference,” Truesdale said.
Through the Junior Leadership program high school juniors and seniors will explore various booming Florence County industries like health care, agriculture and natural resources.
The program runs for nine months and will provide in depth networking opportunities with local businesses and industry specialists.
Program organizers said what students learn during that time will get them invested in the Florence Community.
“They will get some connections that will lead them down better paths… quicker and faster. I think it's going to be an educational process that's not going to be available anywhere else,” said Mike Miller, president of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
The goal is to show the young folks they don't have to move to larger cities to pursue the careers of their dreams.
“One thing that is important to us is that we are a fairly large local company for people to actually come back and work at. We hire a lot of local kids I guess you could say,” said Jennifer King, marketing specialist for Arbor One Farm Credit.
Cody Simpson went through this same type of program in Claredon County. He said the principles and networking experiences he gained have allowed him to give back in the community.
“Everyone has to come together and we have to make things happen; and on this level, hopefully we will inspire other people...hopefully in our county, state, and nation to work together and make things happen,” Simpson said.
Applications for Junior Leadership Florence are being accepted now and can be found with your students' guidance counselor.