Hartselle City Schools says student work opportunities are paying off

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HARTSELLE, Ala. – Getting up and going to work each day is normal for many people in North Alabama.

But some employees at the Sonoco plant in Hartselle, double as high school students from August to May.

“Our students, some of them go to school in the mornings, some of them go in the afternoon. And then they work a shift for Sonoco or Busche or Cerro,” said Dee Dee Jones, Superintendent of Hartselle City Schools.

The students are a part of a district program called Tiger Launch.

The program is approaching its second year and the district said students are definitely seeing benefits.

“They are able to achieve their academics and then they’re able to be paid as employees. So it gives them a chance to learn how to be a great employee,” added Jones.

State officials say there is a shortage of skilled labor workers in Alabama, Hartselle City Schools said this tool exposes students to their options.

“Some students are going to go on and they’re going to go to those four-year academic pathways, college,” Jones explained.

“Some students are going to go the two-year route, some are going to go vocational. Some of them just need the stepping off point to go into the workforce.”

Jones said when students clock in they are changing the trajectory of their futures each and every day.

“They will be prepared to have a job for life and be successful and that’s our goal and our mission.”

Some of the students have been able to buy themselves cars and pay for educational expenses through the tiger launch program.

Program coordinators said it’s great to see the community investing in the next generation of professionals.