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"Professionalism Day" helps Metro students prepare for careers

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 13:33:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Schools are working with the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Corporation to get students ready for the professional world.

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in Music City, and it supporting more than 70,000 jobs.

“I want to open my own business when I get out," Anastasia Parker, a senior at Hunters Lane High School, said. "I want to start my own business and build on that,” said Parker.

She wants to open a salon and spa and is getting some help preparing for that through her school’s business academy.

“I’m learning how to talk to people, how to present myself to people and how to make myself look more presentable in a way,” Parker said.

“Really what we’re trying to do is build on that career readiness aspect so when they go into the career fields and they’re working with our professionals we need them to know how to interact,” Ethan Hanson, who leads the Hunters Lane’s academies program, said. Hanson has been hosting Professionalism Day for four years, partnering with industry leaders like the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Corporation.

Almost 100 students participated by going between six different classrooms with each classroom focusing on a different skill.

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken, based on information from the chamber of commerce, all of the high wage high needs jobs in the area, and based on those we’ve created different academies in our schools," Hanson said.

Each class is a 20 minute workshop with topics ranging from punctuality, communication, person presentation and commitment and quality.

“It’s very cool and it gives us experience and I think if we take it in now it will be easier later on in life because we learned it at an early age,” student Kendall Packard said. Packard believes the workshops with local business leaders are showing him how his experience in sports can connect to his future career.

“One thing that stuck out to me is that you have to present yourself how you want to be seen,” student Johnny Reyes said. One day Johnny Reyes wants to run his family’s masonry business, and he’s learning some of the skills to do that at Hunters Lane High’s Professionalism Day.

The professionalism program culminates with it’s second part in the spring when students shadow hospitality employees at the Music City Center and Omni Hotel.

They’ll also experience multiple mock interviews.

This professional training is growing in metro schools.

“Other schools will start doing these professionalism fairs at a younger age, so really it’s something we’ve introduced to our freshmen academies in the district this year,” Hanson said.