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School pegs SKC as top partner

The Newton County School System and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce recently announced that SKC Inc. is the 2013 NCSS Partner of the Year. Pictured, from left, are Carol Jones, SKC Human Resources manager; Sung Ho Kim, vice president/chief financial officer for SKC; Tom Gray, vice president of Operations for SKC; Ho Jin Kim, president/chief executive officer of SKC; James Woodard, principal of the Newton College & Career Academy; and Hunter Hall, president of the Newton Chamber. Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd

The Newton County School System and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce recently announced that SKC Inc. is the 2013 NCSS Partner of the Year. Pictured, from left, are Carol Jones, SKC Human Resources manager; Sung Ho Kim, vice president/chief financial officer for SKC; Tom Gray, vice president of Operations for SKC; Ho Jin Kim, president/chief executive officer of SKC; James Woodard, principal of the Newton College & Career Academy; and Hunter Hall, president of the Newton Chamber. Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd

COVINGTON --Local manufacturing company SKC Inc. recently was named the 2013 NCSS Partner of the Year for the Newton County School System.

The company's honor was announced at a reception with the Newton County Chamber of Commerce. It partners with the Newton College & Career Academy.

Each year the district selects one business partner from a group of applicants that stands above the rest as the Partner of the Year.

NCCA Principal James Woodard said in his nomination that SKC "truly exemplifies what commitment and engagement is all about." The company has committed both substantial time and financial resources to the school, he said.

"Business engagement is a critical part of operating a career academy," Woodard said.

He said SKC partnered with the school before the building was even built; he said officials also were part of the design and concept development for the academy.

"They demonstrate a very strong partnership, and more importantly, the engagement touches the lives of a lot of kids," Woodard said.

SKC works with students through internships and facility tours, and company officials also donate their time to the school and its students.

SKC Human Resource manager Carol Jones serves on the school's board of directors, a position that requires providing oversight and direction for the school. In addition to attending bi-monthly board meetings, Jones shares human resources knowledge with students to help them prepare for real world experiences they will face, such as how to prepare and sit through a formal job interview.

SKC also has committed financial resources to assist the school -- it will donate $10,000 as part of a three-year commitment.

"This donation has allowed our school to purchase supplies and training for the Associate Board of Directors (comprised of NCCA students). As such, the students learned more about themselves and how to deal with different types of personalities," said Woodard. "They have also received training on how to dress for success and the importance of correct dress when interviewing."

Woodard added that SKC also is participating in a pilot program aimed at increasing the rigor of the school's internship program. The new program is aimed at creating a process to improve the associates applying for internships. The students must go through the interview process to be chosen as an intern with SKC.

"SKC has shown in many ways their care for our students," said Woodard. "The commitment they have made will have a large impact on our students but an even larger impact on our community."

Tom Gray, vice president of Operations for SKC, said the company has a vested interest in supporting, both financially and personally, the students.

"The majority of our employees live and have children who attend school locally," he said "The education system as a whole is improving. This is of vital importance to SKC, since we not only need an educated workforce but we also need a school system that can attract talented people who want to work and live in our area."

SKC employs more than 300 individuals and has invested $100 million over the past year in the expansion of its facility that will create even more jobs, Gray added.

NCSS has more than 150 individual school-business partnerships in the PIE program.

"We need more," said Hunter Hall, president of the Newton Chamber. "This marriage between schools and business is critical."

He said partners impact school morale and, at times, income. They also donate their time through volunteer hours by mentoring students and providing business practices.

"Quality education is a task that can't be accomplished alone by any single group. It's take all of us --a joint effort," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews.

The PIE program began in 1986 as the Adopt-a-School program.