This week, the Chattanooga Chamber and Hamilton County Schools held Get (Future) Ready — an annual event that offers eighth-grade students in Hamilton County middle schools the opportunity to connect with business professionals and expand their understanding of potential careers.

The fair was held at the Chattanooga Convention Center from January 10 to 11. Local companies including Astec, BuildingPoint Mid-America, Rock City and Coca-Cola Bottling came together to demonstrate the connection between classroom and career while encouraging students to learn about potential career options before entering high school.

Students test their knowledge at the NOVONIX booth. Photographer Caleb Stambaugh.

“With current talent and workforce shortages, it is crucial for employers to build strong partnerships with local schools. These partnerships give back to the community, serve as an investment in talent pipeline development for employers, and build brand recognition across our region. Get (Future) Ready is a fun way for employers to meet educators and learn how they can partner with Hamilton County Schools,” Christina Henderson, Director of Talent Development, Chattanooga Chamber says.

Students in attendance were able to experience a wide range of future careers through demonstrations and activities including driving a miniature electric vehicle through an obstacle course at the NOVONIX Institute for Advanced Battery Technology booth; climbing inside a U.S. Xpress big rig; witnessing a Boston Dynamics robot courtesy of TVA; and sitting in a military Humvee through Cempa’s Institute of Leadership and Public Health booth.

Through Get (Future) Ready, Chattanooga Chamber and Hamilton County Schools showcase a broad spectrum of possible careers and prepare students for participation in Future Ready Institutes as they begin their high school careers.

A student plays cornhole at the Coca-Cola Bottling booth. Photographer Caleb Stambaugh.

Offered in 13 local high schools, Future Ready Institutes provide students with small learning cohorts with career, theme-based teaching, and learning beginning in ninth grade. Future Ready Institutes’ principles include engaging instruction, partnerships beyond school and a postsecondary jump start.

Read about a recent Future Ready Institute partnership with Coca-Cola Bottling, here.

Learn more about Future Ready Institutes, here.