Thompson Tractor hosts student tour in association with Shelby County Manufacturing Day
Thompson Tractor along with Hibbett Wholesale and SEPCO hosted a student tour in association with Shelby County Manufacturing Day. The student tour was sponsored by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and 58 Inc. to give students a real-world look at the jobs available in skilled labor. The Shelby County CAT Rental Store and Branch hosted lunch for 50 students and teachers as they toured the shop and facilities.
Thompson Tractor and the other companies in the tour encouraged the kids to pursue jobs in skilled labor, as there currently is a significant need for skilled employees in the workforce. “There has been a huge skill gap in the United States and in Alabama, and high schools for decades have been ignoring that,” said Training Director Ashley Self. “These are kids who are in the middle: they are not going to college, but they are good students and they have a high work ethic. Through events like this, we want to show them there are opportunities out there to make a great living and have a great career in the skilled trades without going to college,” Self added. “There’s honor in working with your hands.”
"Keeping It Real" Program at local Shelby County High Schools
Thompson Tractor has been given the opportunity to sponsor and volunteer at Oak Mountain and Montevallo High School with the “Keeping It Real” Program. This program gives students a very small, but impactful, glimpse of what it is like to live life as an adult on a budget.
The first day students learn the difference between gross and net income and the importance of budgeting. The second day students visit 12 stations with their income worksheets to pay bills that corresponded with expenses.
To help the experience be realistic, the students are challenged to make choices based on randomly assigned situations, such as having a spouse and children, being a single parent or attending college while holding a job. They are assigned a monthly salary and level of education. With these factors in mind, the students rotate through stations where they are called on to use their salary to pay bills, buy or rent a home, purchase clothing, groceries or furniture, or make other everyday choices.
“Through this program, we are preparing the future workforce to work here in Shelby County,” said Kelly Anderson, manager of Workforce Development, Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. “We want them to have the education and experience to help grow our community and our economy.”