For Sophomores at LEAD Southeast High School, words like supply chain, logistics, career clusters and project management are common but not always well defined. Thanks to a partnership between LEAD Public Schools and GEODIS, a global logistics company with its United States headquarters in Brentwood, Tenn., students learn firsthand how to define terms related to the new economy and discover ways they can apply their knowledge to jobs and careers.
GEODIS employs more than 40,000 people and works in 168 countries and across 300+ logistics platforms to fulfill their mission of helping clients succeed by overcoming their logistical constraints. And the company keeps growing.
LEAD Southeast High School prepares 400 students for college and life. Every student in a LEAD high school participates in a seminar course. In freshman year, seminar focuses on habits to be an effective student. Sophomores participate in the YouScience assessment to learn more about career clusters and how their skills and interests match specific career clusters. In junior and senior year, the students apply what they learned about themselves and the career fields to their college search to help them make informed decisions regarding their next steps after graduation.
When Mike Honious, who serves as GEODIS’ President & CEO of Americas and Executive Vice President of Contract Logistics, joined LEAD Public School’s board of directors he started thinking about how his organization’s expertise could influence the students and their next steps.
GEODIS employees seek opportunities to be active in the communities in which they work, and LEAD students need to better understand how career ideas turn into jobs. By combining the two organizations, students explore different career clusters during their sophomore seminar and GEODIS employees representing various clusters come into the classroom to showcase how their everyday jobs use the skills and knowledge they gained in school.
For this first round of collaboration, sophomores heard from GEODIS employees in the fields of marketing and sales, IT, transportation, engineering and project management. Prior to the conversations with GEODIS employees, more than half of LEAD Southeast’s sophomores had not previously considered pursuing careers in these fields. Following the collaboration, 91% of students felt more informed about the career clusters they encountered through GEODIS employees and 49% would consider applying for a job with the company.
“We all learn better when we can take a big idea and see how it plays out in our personal lives,” said Madison Renfro, the sophomore seminar teacher at LEAD Southeast High School . “Through the GEODIS partnership, our students are exposed to career fields they otherwise may have never known about. Many of our students possess attributes that would allow them to be extremely successful in those fields, and Geodis has now given them an avenue to pursue that path.”
This inaugural group of sophomores will stay connected to GEODIS for the remainder of their high school experience. As part of their seminar classes, they will tour GEODIS facilities to see how the headquarters and warehouses work together and promote clients’ goals. During the seminar days in which GEODIS shared examples of their work in the career clusters, the students also shared lunches with the presenters and had opportunities to ask specific questions related to jobs, careers and how to make life choices.
In their junior and senior years, these students will continue to learn about career and college readiness in the context of what they learned and experienced in the living classroom of GEODIS.
Thanks to the GEODIS partnership, LEAD expects to see future alumni connected to both institutions.