Massive effort launched to prepare Hamilton County students for workforce

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Market Executive Hamp Johnston speaks during a press conference announcing the launch of the Future Ready Institutes at Howard School on Thursday, March 15, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The 11 Hamilton County schools to have a Future Ready Institute are: Brainerd High, East Hamilton Middle/High, East Ridge High, Hixson High, Howard High, Ooltewah High, Red Bank High, Sequoyah High, Tyner High, Signal Mountain Middle/High and Soddy-Daisy High.

A new effort aims to prepare area students for life after high school.

Known as the Future Ready Institutes, the program, unveiled Thursday, is a partnership between Hamilton County Schools, Chattanooga 2.0 and community business partners.

The brainchild of Superintendent Bryan Johnson, who began championing the idea soon after he took the helm of the district last year, the institutes will be small learning communities embedded in 11 of the county's traditional high schools, with some hosting more than one institute. The 17 institutes will each be centered around an industry theme, such as health sciences, engineering, industrial manufacturing and hospitality.

"It's exciting for me to see what is the biggest initiative in three decades in Hamilton County Schools," said Jared Bigham, executive director of Chattanooga 2.0.