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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Florence Launch Program gives students job opportunities

Whitney Veazey

Florence High School encourages its students to get some real-life work experience. They offer this through a work-based learning program. Students must be juniors or seniors with good academic standing to apply. 

The program, aptly named LAUNCH Mission, is designed to offer participating students career-focused opportunities, enabling them to elevate their knowledge and skills while maximizing personal development. Comprising various components such as high expectations, on-the-job placement, local and national partnerships, skill elevation classes, performance evaluation, personal development plans, self-reflection exercises and mentoring, LAUNCH Mission sets out to equip students with the necessary tools for a successful transition into the workforce or higher education.

Under the LAUNCH Mission program, students undergo a meticulous selection process, considering factors like school attendance, discipline, academic standing and character references from teachers, counselors and administrators. Additionally, students complete a career inventory sheet and essays, followed by interviews conducted by LAUNCH Staff and partnering businesses or employment agencies.

The application for the 2024-2025 school year has now opened. Criteria for students to apply are present on the Florence High School’s website. The application also lists the rules and regulations students must agree to and follow once applied. 

The  2024-2025 Work-Based Learning regulations emphasize the educational focus of the program, requiring students to abide by program policies and decisions of the Workforce Development Coordinator. This intermediary role extends to placement issues, where the Coordinator holds significant authority. Unsatisfactory performance, attendance non-compliance, or unacceptable behavior may result in removal from the program. 

Students are expected to report placement terminations promptly and adhere to school rules, including punctuality and dress code, while under the supervision of the Coordinator. Additionally, participation in relevant student organizations is encouraged. The responsibility for transportation to and from the placement rests with the student and parent or guardian and students must promptly vacate the campus after their last scheduled class unless approved by an administrator. These regulations underscore the importance of professionalism, accountability, and adherence to guidelines in facilitating successful Work-Based Learning experiences. 

The program has already received recognition for its excellence, including the CLAS Banner Program of Distinction in 2018, the Kuder Partnership Excellence Award, and presentations at the NCPN Convention. With over 65 business and industry partnerships, LAUNCH Mission boasts the largest internship and apprenticeship program in the state.

For businesses, LAUNCH Mission offers a talent pipeline of 21st-century workers, reducing hiring costs, increasing retention rates and fostering innovation. Interns and apprentices benefit from gaining valuable skills, professional networks, college credits, scholarships and industry credentials, along with earnings averaging around $20,000 throughout their apprenticeship.

Key local business partners include Shoals Primary Care, Renaissance Eye Center, Listerhill Credit Union, Marriott, University of North Alabama, North Alabama Bone and Joint and many more.

LAUNCH Mission aims to not only enhance students’ employability but also strengthen the quality of the workforce in the area, benefiting businesses, the community, and each participating student. With its innovative approach to career development, Florence High School is setting a precedent for education and workforce readiness programs nationwide.

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About the Contributors
Trenedy Parks, News Editor
Trenedy Parks is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Tenne. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in journalism and digital media. She has worked as a staff writer for The Flor-Ala since Aug. 2022, and as News Editor since Aug. 2023. Her goals as a writer are to learn more about Florence and its community and to become more involved with the people of UNA.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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