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Snellville Solutions: Connecting Business, Schools and Local Government

The city is reaching out to the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing opportunities for students to create change.

What gives Snellville its identity and message? 

According to Economic Development Director Eric Van Otteren, the answer to that is entrepreneurship. 

His faith in Snellville’s small business community is verified by the success of recent initiatives, including the , Snellville Business Toolbox and South Gwinnett High’s entrepreneurship program. 

“Snellville is stepping up as a community,” said Van Otteren, “verifying what I thought two years ago, that this is an entrepreunerial community. “

What’s coming up this school year may be the most ambitious project yet.  On Aug. 2, Van Otteren met with teachers and principals at to discuss an alliance between schools and . 

“Snellville Solutions – Innovating Eastside Medical Center” is modeled after Dade County’s Project Synergy, a project in Chattanooga, Tenn., that linked students with the local Volkswagen plant. The project will make school more relevant by helping students develop a clearer understanding of the value of their learning in preparation for their careers.

According to Van Otteren, businesses look for problem-solving skills and creative thinking when looking at their pool of candidates.  This is what the program will offer students.

As the healthcare field changes, there is plenty of room for innovative solutions.  Encouraging entrepreneurship as a viable career path is one of the goals of this unique alliance, along with developing leadership skills and community involvement. 

The outcome, according to a press release, will be an actionable idea that Eastside and the City execute, with student help.

For example, at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, a 6th grade student came up with the idea to add a flashing light to a vehicle’s dashboard that would light up when an emergency vehicle was passing by.  She noted that cars are getting quieter, and that those who are hard of hearing would benefit as well. 

Brookwood High School will roll out an entrepreneurship program this year modeled after South Gwinnett's highly successful Entrepreneurship Alliance, launched last year. and were awarded with 24 new city business licenses and grants.  

by the Atlanta Regional Commission and given the Create Community Award.

The potential dates for the program at Snellville Middle are as follows:

  • August 2nd – teacher-leaders meeting to share with core teachers and set the process to complete the planning for a January 3rd launch.
  • January 3rd – Start Date
  • January – Service Excellence Course to students; potentially a school-wide assembly inviting parents, and other professionals from the community.
  • February – Field Trip to Medical Center for 7th-graders.
  • April – begin competition process in teams with a “best idea” winner from each grade-level educational team.
  • May (early) – Nine winning teams (one from each educational team) present to panel of hospital and city leaders.

Snellville Patch will keep you posted with new developments in this project.  

Tom Witts August 09, 2012 at 02:01 AM
The citizens Survey results that the City received in April earmarks Economic Development as the number 1 motivating factor for Snellville's continued prosperity. It was neglected for years until 2010 when the budget included a Economic Development Dept. and funded the hiring of Eric as our director. The accomplishments are apparent and undeniable. It s because of our commitment to and emphasis on Economic development that I credit for being able to reduce the millage rate over the last 2 years for a total of nearly 1 mill. Great things are happening in Snellville. My new motto is "don't drink the Kool-aid". pay attention to the GREAT things happening in our city. I am PROUD to be Somebody from Snellville and hope you are too. Tom Witts Mayor Pro Tem
Dave Emanuel August 09, 2012 at 02:16 AM
As a result of Eric's vision and hard work, the City of Snellville won the prestigious CREATE Community award in the "Regional Prosperity and Economic Development" category. This competition is sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and is open to all cities and counties within the region. Considering that there are only five categories, winning is no easy feat. I added a photo of the award presentation. As you can see, several council members were able to attend and needless to say, we were all proud to be somebody from Snellville. Thank you Eric for your hard work and dedication.

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