On Tuesday, March 21st, 2019, Osborne Wood Products, a local wood products manufacturer, was invited to address the guests at a Campfire Georgia community breakfast at Reflections at Lake Toccoa to recognize outstanding local students. The Campfire Georgia director, Elaine Brinkley, noted that a common conception many have is that kids only need to be involved in studying and getting good grades, and that it is “all about the books, the GPA, and focusing on college.” But she pointed out that students today also need committed people behind them, focusing on who they are and what they need. And that is where Osborne Wood Products has been so supportive.
Clarissa Trimmer, long-time employee at Osborne Wood Products, shared that Osborne is very excited to partner with the community and support the Mentoring Program in Stephens County, where staff are encouraged to be involved in mentoring a child in one of the local public schools. Employees who choose to spend an hour once a week with a local student are paid for their time, and even allowed extra time off for their lunch hour to travel to and from the school.
In addition to the Mentoring program, Osborne has been very active in hiring students from Stephens County High School as temporary interns, where they can get experience and training in a business environment. Currently Osborne employs 8-10 high school interns who are learning valuable job skills that will give them a competitive edge as they enter the job market. The students receive training from experienced employees in a wide variety of departments, from Accounting to Customer Service to Shipping and Receiving, Osborne employees pass down valuable soft-skills like customer communication, information processing, and team building. Ms. Trimmer stressed that the learning experience with the interns is really a two-way street, and that employees also receive valuable feedback and perspective from the high school interns. The employee mentors at Osborne do not take the attitude of “I am the mentor, you do it my way or the highway!” Instead Ms. Trimmer says that the Osborne experience with the student interns is more like “We are here to learn together.”
Osborne’s goal with their student intern program is to instill a foundation of business learning and experience to help them as they start their careers in life. Ms. Trimmer focused on the personal reward that employees experience by mentoring someone who knows little about the business world, and how gratifying it is to watch the student grow in their abilities and understandings.
One of the current interns at Osborne Wood Products, Monique Gautreaux, spoke to the guests at the luncheon. Monique is a student at Stephens County High School, and Ms. Trimmer said that not only were Monique’s grades A+, but so was her work ethic and her attitude. When given projects, Monique would take responsibility and finish it to the end. She takes on challenges and does an excellent job. Monique expressed appreciation for the work experience she is getting at Osborne Wood Products. She spends each day from 8:00 to 2:30 learning skills that will put her ahead of the curve when she enters the job market. Monique values that edge, and wishes that more high school students had the opportunity to accrue such valuable work experience.
Osborne Wood Products has been partnering with the Stephens County community for many years to mentor and inspire the next generation of young workers.