Periodically throughout the year, the CTE teachers tour local businesses to get a firsthand look at the type of employee that is needed and what skills are required. This semester CTE teachers from the high school and both middle schools spent the entire day touring four businesses located in McDowell County. These businesses were A Chance of Sprinkles Bake Shop, Baxter Healthcare, Bruce’s Fabulous Foods and Marion Fire Department.
The day began at A Chance of Sprinkles Bake Shop located at Logan Street in Marion. This is a local bakery/coffee shop that offers cupcakes, ice cream, slushies, smoothies, cookies, homemade desserts, specialty coffees and custom cakes. After an excellent breakfast, we discussed the impact Covid19 had on her business and how she overcame the situation. With a food truck, Renee Arrowood was able to stay afloat and grow her business. Employees at this business need to be punctual, honest and good communicators.
The next stop was Baxter Healthcare. Baxter Healthcare is the largest employer in McDowell County. They employ over 3000 people, many of which are from neighboring counties and states. They were hosting a hiring event when we arrived. After touring the plant and discussing the various types of jobs that are available, we discussed the type of employee that they like to hire. Many of their requirements mirrored the bake shop. They wanted employees that exhibit professionalism. This includes being prompt, responsible, ethical, effective communicators, team players and problem solvers.
Third stop was at Bruce’s Fabulous Foods on Main Street in Marion owned by Bruce and Barbara Brown. Along with being an excellent chef, Bruce is also a star of ABC 13’s “Carolina Kitchen”, who creates cheesecakes unsurpassed by any others, selling them around the country via the internet. After eating an excellent lunch, we talked about their description of the perfect employee. It was summed up in two words; responsible and dependable.
The final stop on the tour was the Marion Fire Department. This is one of the few fire departments in our area that is not entirely volunteer. Twelve of the salaried employees are full-time, seven are part-time and they have 18 volunteers. At present, they have four positions open with salaries ranging from $31,000 to $53,000. Qualities they are looking for in new employees are dependability, responsibility and strong work ethic.
Overall, the tour was very enlightening. There were many jobs, benefits and opportunities available through these businesses including signing bonuses, no experience needed positions, workplace flexibility, scholarship programs and commuter benefits. Regardless of your chosen field, there are numerous skills that all employees need to be successful. Every business is looking for employees with a good work ethic, professionalism, honesty, responsibility, problem solvers and good communication skills. The CTE teachers involved in the tours noted that they need to continue to incorporate these valuable skills into our classrooms. The industry tours were arranged by Mitchell County Schools CTE CDC, Pam Pitman.