CoreCivic's Gateway to Business program exposes Wright Middle Prep students to business careers

img_0668 "My name is Alexandria, and I am compassionate and open-minded," Wright Middle Prep eighth-grader Alex Parkerson said, shaking the hand of a classmate with insights learned from taking the Gallup Strengthsfinder test.

Parkerson is not just learning about her strengths, but she can now add business basics, investing on the stock market and career options in investment banking to her learning repertoire as part of the CoreCivic Gateway to Business program at Wright Middle Prep, which is giving her plenty to think about when it comes to life after graduation. 

The career acceleration program for middle school students integrates classroom visits from business professionals with field trips where students can interact with executives. Community partners for the program include CoreCivicLocalShares, the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management and UBS Business Solutions Center.

Margaret Dolan, president of the Knowledge Division at LocalShares, said one of the most important pieces of advice she gives to students is to never stop being curious.

"The only way we grow and progress is to continue to ask questions and learn from it," Dolan said.

Students at Wright Middle Prep visited the UBS Solutions Center on October 12.

LocalShares, which facilitates the CoreCivic program at Wright Middle Prep hopes to increase participation in the program and work with more middle schools, according to Michael Schulz, director of marketing for LocalShares.

"We want to show them as much as we can," Dolan said. "One of the things that really excites me is that we're developing more rapport with the students. We don't want to talk at them. We want them to engage back."

View highlights from the Gateway to Business UBS Business Solutions Center field trip below: