Missouri Governor Mike Parson brought the spotlight to Four Rivers Career Center on Thursday, March 11. The governor has been visiting work-ready communities in the state and spoke with students and instructors in the Engineering, Machine Tool, Information Technology, Carpentry, Auto Technology, Collision Repair, Welding, and CAPS programs. Student Ambassadors led the tour, giving Missouri's top elected official a unique perspective to the tour.
Programs at Four Rivers are focused on bridging classroom learning with real-world experience. The Chamber is excited to partner with the career center to develop relationships with area businesses, improving the outlook for our community's future workforce.
For more photos and details on Gov. Parson's visit:
School District of Washington article
Photos from Gov. Parson Flickr
Inaugural Class of Youth Registered Apprentices from Four Rivers Career Center - Many Chamber Businesses Participating!
On Friday, February 26, Four Rivers Career Center in Washington hosted a signing day ceremony to recognize 33 Youth Registered Apprentices and 10 Apprentice-Elects. Watch the Ceremony here! Leaders representing the community, apprentice's parents, FRCC instructors and elected officials, as well as Wade Johnson (Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship) and Commissioner Zora Mulligan (Dept. of Higher Education and Workforce Development) were present to celebrate the students' achievements. Over the past six months, staff at the career center has worked closely with City of Washington and Chamber Officials to develop partnerships with local businesses and accelerate the youth-focused apprenticeship program.
At this time, FRCC offers seven (7) different apprenticeship study programs: Automotive Technology, Machine Tool, Welding, Collision Repair, Carpenter, Engineering, Information Technology. There are currently 24 Premier Business Partners certified to employ apprentices from Four Rivers Career Center. Chamber Members taking advantage of the training program include Modern Auto Company, Riechers Tire and Auto, Straatmann Toyota, School District of Washington, KJ Unnerstall Construction, GH Tool & Mold, Riechers Truck Bodies, and Sahm Welding and Fabrication.
The Signing Day ceremony was the culmination of many efforts and milestones leading up to this ceremony:
Four Rivers Career Center prides itself in authentic experiences for their students, bridging the gap between education and career success. Recognized as a premier Career and Technical Education Center FRCC offers students the ability to connect their passions to their career path. FRCC services ten high schools and spans St. Charles, Gasconade, Warren, Franklin, Crawford, and St. Louis Counties.
"Five years ago, the charge was to change the face of Four Rivers," said FRCC Director Andy Robinson. "Prior to that, we were vo-tech - we were the school students would go to that weren't successful in academic educational areas. I trust my staff, I trust the teachers that are making it happen, I trust what they do every day in the classroom to make it real. They take our students and they find their passions and they push them out into the real world. They understand that their program of study may be to go to a 4 year university, to a 2-year community college, or to a trade school, or just go straight to work and get involved. We find every kid where they're at and we push them along. In order to represent that, we needed an apprenticeship program."
The program has great potential to keep growing, developing an effective pipeline for a highly skilled, sustainable workforce. Four Rivers Career Center is setting a high standard to qualify as Youth Registered Apprentices through aptitude, academic performance, and work ethic. Students must meet a number of requirements to qualify for the program, maintaining a minimum 2.5 GPA and 95 percent attendance rate, and they must be at least 16 years of age. "Today we're celebrating 33 students," Robinson said. "We call them gold standard students because they are our guarantee. We want to push out high quality students.
We've got another 500 kids in the wings - we just couldn't get to them all, but we will. It just takes time and effort, and building more relationships in our community."
Cynthia Walker was hired as the Apprenticeship Coordinator and has been impressed with the way the community has embraced the apprenticeship model. "I'm amazed at the achievements we can make when we all work together as a team. The vision of YRA has been a long held initiative for our administration, school board, employers, and our local/state officials, with a purpose to bolster our economy and fill the needed workforce skills gap. Our FRCC Director, Andy Robinson, has helped put feet to that vision and provided the initiative for the community relationships, the leadership, as well as the many provisions to move this chapter of career and technical education forward."
Governor Mike Parson and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, both supporters of apprenticeship and other programs to help narrow the skills gap, were unable to attend the ceremony due to scheduling conflicts. Gov. Parson has plans to visit FRCC for a tour in the future, and Lt. Gov. Kehoe provided a video address for the ceremony, stating, "CTE (Career & Technical Education) students are a vital resource to Missouri's thriving economy today, tomorrow, and the future because our state needs a strong skilled, and highly motivated workforce to compete in the world's marketplace."
Wade Johnson of the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship had wonderful things to say about the greater Washington community and Four Rivers Career Center. Before presenting the official certification of the FRCC Apprenticeship Program, he stated, "City and Business organizations. This is the perfect storm in a positive way of things that need to happen to not only develop an apprenticeship program, but to have it be sustainable."
His words about the students, however, were a highlight of the day, and proof that Four Rivers Career Center is living and fulfilling its mission to provide a quality education with real life experiences and opportunities to achieve a higher standard of living for a diverse student population using authentic hands-on learning modeled by knowledgeable and caring instructors.
Johnson stated, "I wish I was as confident and talented in high school as what I've seen today. And it's not just the apprentices. The kids that gave us tours... They were very sure of what they wanted to do and how they wanted to prepare themselves for the workforce, for becoming productive, contributing members of society, forging their own path to the middle class. It inspires me, and it gives me hope for the future."
The program was closed by Commissioner Zora Mulligan of the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. "To the students watching - the state of Missouri is tremendously proud of your success and we can't wait to see what you do as you finish your apprenticeships and go on into the economy and your lives. Thank you all for celebrating this important event with us today."
Does your company want to get involved with the Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program?
Learn more here, or contact Cynthia Walker, Apprenticeship Coordinator for additional details!
Room for Art Gallery celebrated its Grand Opening on Monday, March 1 at 124 West Main Street in Downtown Washington. The Gallery, owned by JoAnn (Peters) McCoy showcases the work of sixteen Missouri artists throughout the 2,000 square foot space.
Featured Artists include:
Read The Missourian's feature article on the gallery here!
**Members will receive their invitations by e-mail the week of March 8, 2021.
Devin Henderson is a multi-talented powerhouse: an author, experienced presenter and seasoned performer, having logged thousands of performances as an award-winning comedian and magician, and an in-demand keynote speaker. His unique combination of skills and storytelling and his hilarious and engaging interaction are what make him an audience favorite. His keynote clients have included Pepsi, Sprint, Cerner and hundreds more. His performances have been called, "unreal," "unexpected," and "unforgettable."
"Something Greater Is Always Possible"
What would you do and who you be if you believed anything was possible for you? For many people a once-held vision of unlimited possibility gets small and limited as a result of life’s daily stressors, persistent insecurities, self doubt, isolation and even failure. But what if you could reclaim and even expand your full potential at anytime? And what if your truest potential was bigger, richer and more satisfying than you had previously envisioned? Join seasoned speaker and performer, Devin Henderson for an entertaining, funny, and inspiring experience to break free of your perceived limits and realize your greatness like never before.
You’ll learn how to:
More Info on the Banquet:
A ribbon cutting was held in February to officially welcome Exit 11 Coffee House & Workspace's 2nd Washington Drive-Thru, located behind Cinema 1 Plus.... Pictured are owners Scott & Angela Garland with representatives from the Chamber Board & Staff, Ambassadors, and City of Washington officials.
Exit 11 started as a shared workspace with an on-site coffeehouse in the Washington Business Center at 1351 Jefferson Street. Soon, a two-sided drive-thru coffee location was added just a block away, followed by a Union location, and now the newest drive thru off Rabbit Trail. For addresses and hours, visit www.exit-11.com/locations.
The Exit 11 Menu includes coffee (fresh, cold brew, or iced!), Frozen Drinks, Teas & Cocoa, Espresso (Hot or Iced), Pastries and other breakfast items. Drinks can get an extra pump of deliciousness with a variety of syrups, including Scottie's Organic House-Made flavors (Bourbon Vanilla, Spanish Vanilla, Hazelnut, Coconut, Cinnamon Dulce, or Louisiana molasses blend), and for those that like to brew their own, Scottie's Whole Bean Coffee is available by the bag,
Jennifer Giesike, President/CEO of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and manager of the Washington Town & Country Fair, has been elected the 2nd Vice Chair of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. The IAFE is a voluntary, not-for-profit trade association that represents and facilitates the evolving interests and needs of agricultural fairs, exhibitions, and shows (i.e. county and state fairs) around the globe. The association delivers industry-leading educational programming through training and certification programs, conferences, and its annual convention, provides in-depth resources, and connects members with the belief that fairs are strongest when working together and sharing knowledge.
The Washington Town & Country Fair has been a member of the IAFE since 1996. Giesike stated, “I know that our Fair has benefitted greatly from its membership. Board and staff members have gained and developed specific tools and ideas from attending IAFE events, and our Fair is better as a result of that.”
Giesike has been actively involved in IAFE activities since starting as the Fair Coordinator in 2000, taking advantage of the education and networking opportunities available. She received her Certified Fair Executive certification in April 2008 and graduated in the first class of the Institute of Fair Management in December 2009. She has served as the Zone 5 Director, Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Initiative, Chair of the 2019 IAFE Annual Convention Program Committee, CFE Committee, the Membership Committee, and the County Fair Committee, and was awarded the first IAFE YP Rising Star Award in December 2009.
“The IAFE has been key to my development as a professional in this industry, so to have the opportunity to help guide the organization for the next five years is a distinct honor,” said Giesike. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the industry that I’m so passionate about, and help ensure the future of fairs is as bright as ever.”
Giesike will work her way up to the position of Chairman of the IAFE in 2023, and then serve two additional years on the board. The IAFE board of directors consists of 18 elected members and the president and CEO selected by the board as an ex-officio director. The directors include a chair, two immediate past chairs, two vice chairs, a treasurer, a representative of the Federation of State and Provincial Associations of Fairs, a representative of the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, eight directors elected from and representing each of the eight zones in the United States and Canada, and two directors at large from associate members. IAFE President & CEO Marla Calico is happy to have Giesike step into the position. “It’s been a joy to watch Jennifer grow in her fair expertise over the years, and her love of the industry is evident in how she carries herself. She’s a great supporter of our organization, and isn’t afraid to dig into the hard work that is required. She is the first Chair in many years that comes from the background of a smaller fair – yet fairs similar to the Washington Town & Country Fair represent 45% of our total membership. I look forward to the perspective she will add to our discussions, and the positive attitude she brings.
Jennifer has been employed by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce for 20 years, serving as the Chamber President/CEO and Fair manager since 2012. She oversees the day-to-day operations which include entertainment contracts, sponsorships, scheduling, finances, volunteers, and working closely with a 24- member volunteer Fair Board and a 16-member Chamber Board.
Fair Chairman Jon Ballmann pointed out that Jennifer’s selection is quite an accomplishment. “To be chosen out of everyone in the organization – that’s a big deal. We’re proud of the work we do here, and we think we run a great fair. To have our manager be selected by her peers to serve in this capacity is a great honor for her, as well as for our fair and community.”
“Jennifer has dedicated much of her personal and professional life to the Washington Town & Country Fair, and the industry has provided her many opportunities,” added Chamber Chairman Paul Brune. “We’re happy to have been able to benefit from those opportunities, too. She is a great asset to our organization, and we are proud of her. I know she will serve the IAF
We're excited to hold our Annual Business Meeting on Thursday, January 14 at 8:30 a.m. Instead of gathering at a banquet hall, this year's event will be live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube pages for members to enjoy from their homes or businesses. No pre-registration is required, and the recording will remain available for viewing after the livestream concludes.
Below are links to the Event Program and to the Facebook and YouTube livestreams.
“Our mission has always been to evolve the bank to meet the needs of the community and our customers. I do not envision a time when people will not want to talk face-to-face to a banking professional regarding big financial decisions – we feel this smart branch is the perfect union of personal customer attention and efficient technology.”
The new smart branch will perfectly meld the high level of friendly service our customers are accustomed to with a range of technological solutions to provide full-service transactions. New features include:
"Our goal is to more than deliver on our 'same great bank, next-generation branch' tagline that we introduced last year when we started the remodel of several of our other branches. Creating a unified, seamless experience across our banking channels, whether it is online, mobile, or in-person, is our top priority. No matter how you choose to bank with us, your service experience will be consistent."
Buhr continued by stating, “The digital advances we’re going to introduce at this smart branch will not simply be add-ons to outdated banking practices, but rather they are designed to be enhancements to our current banking culture. We’re here to create a welcoming experience where customers feel comfortable transacting business and receiving financial guidance no matter which channel they choose.”
Once completed, the two-story, 15,000 square foot structure will include a retail banking center and two smaller rental units on the first floor. The bank will occupy 75% of the building with backroom operations claiming space on the second floor.
“With 5 locations and total assets now approaching $300 million, we have long since outgrown our existing facilities here in Washington. We plan to continue to grow, and this new facility is a key part of the plan. At the same time, we are extremely proud of what we have accomplished in the past 20 years, and this further solidifies our commitment to our customers and the communities in Franklin and surrounding counties.”
With construction anticipated to start at the beginning of February, it will be necessary to close the current Rabbit Trail location on January 30, 2021. Other locations will remain open with normal hours of operations. As of today, lobbies are only accessible by appointment to ensure the safety of employees and customers during this pandemic.
While the future impact the pandemic will have on our communities is uncertain, the bank eagerly looks forward to being able to reopen their lobbies and welcome their customers back.
“We look forward to extending a warm welcome to our new neighbors and customers, and thank those who have been with us for the 20 years we’ve been operating in your neighborhoods.”
The bank has enlisted the services of Washington Engineering & Architecture, Inc. and Jasper Builders, Inc. to complete this project.
Bank of Franklin County is an independent and locally owned community bank with five locations in St. Louis area serving Franklin, St. Charles, St. Louis and Warren Counties. In addition to its full service banking locations, Bank of Franklin County also owns and operates Missouri Valley Wealth Management, LLC along with Franklin Mortgage Company, LLC as wholly owned subsidiaries of the bank.
For more information about Bank of Franklin County please visit www.bankfc.com
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