Apprentice Belton students honored at graduation ceremony
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 by Matthew Girard
Through the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce's Apprentice Belton program 20 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor students had the opportunity to learn more about their possible career paths and in some cases learned that they might be headed in a different direction.
In its first year, the Apprentice Belton program was designed to develop tomorrow's young professionals and the future leaders of the Belton Area. The students were selected through an application process and then matched with a professional mentor, where the students spent January through April meeting and learning from different professionals from around the area.
Last Thursday, the BACC honored its first Apprentice Belton class with a graduation ceremony at the Bell County Museum.
"I was anxious to hear about the experiences the mentors and students had during the program," BACC President and CEO Stephanie O'Banion said. "We know it was a very positive experience."
UMHB Vice President for Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee said the students gained valuable experiences through the Apprentice Belton program.
"You can't emulate what they got to experience and the networking that took place," Weathersbee said. "We heard over and over and over again that the students got to discover potential job markets, they got to walk through and see what a day in the life of that professional might be and we heard that students were able to make career decisions because of their experiences."
The 20 students that graduated on Thursday were Amorin Nunez, Stephanie Jones, Kristin McDaniel, Benjamin Taylor, Hannah Romo, Jasmine Austin, Danielle Robinson, Natalie Shelton, Peter Jackson, Ashley Beckham, Joshua Porter, Hope Underwood, Taylor Holleyman, Ashleigh Humphrey, Katherine Johnson, Kaysie Creech, Shannon Beardon, Audrey Hale, Amalie Vance and Zachary Winfield.
Austin, who is a senior in communications, said she was grateful to be a part of the first Apprentice Belton class.
"The total experience was amazing because I got to network so much with people," Austin said. "I would've never imagined getting an internship through this experience and now I have one."
Another goal of the program is to attempt to show UMHB students that Belton is a viable place to work and live after graduation.
"We are excited to know that this new event meets our goals of workforce development and retaining the workforce has been so successful and that we have such a strong partner in Mary Hardin-Baylor," O'Banion said.
With the success of the first class, O'Banion said the program will continue next year.
"We want it to be good for (UMHB's) programs and coincide with what they are doing," O'Banion said.
For more information about the Apprentice Belton program, visit www.beltonchamber.com.