CW44 News At 10 – CEOs from across the Tampa Bay Area took a break from their phones and desks to talk with students at the cafeteria table Friday. The change in pace is part of an annual program offering students a healthy reality check which may lead to direct education about the Bay Area’s future workforce.

On Friday, Bay Area professionals immersed themselves for a day-in-the-life of students and staff at local schools. One of those familiar faces stated jokingly, “Yea, I’m Andrew Warren, I’m the new Cafeteria Supervisor here at Burney Elementary.” Of course, we know Andrew Warren better for his role as State Attorney for Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court. Normally, serving as State Attorney, Warren had a bit of a different job setting Friday afternoon. “Education effects – not just the trajectory of each kid’s life, but our public safety and our economy at the same time,” said Warren.

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Nearly 160 CEOs from the Tampa Bay area visited elementary schools across Hillsborough County for the day for an authentic experience of student life and to offer the reality of the future workforce here.

“This gives them the opportunity to say, ‘This is how my employees started out, this is what they were learning, this is what they were doing and then eventually end up in that job,” said Principal Connie Chisholm at Burney Elementary School.

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“And not just for kids to learn about what we do every day, but it’s a great opportunity for us to learn firsthand what’s happening in the schools, that challenges that our teachers and our administrators are facing and how we can prepare these kids for the best future,” added Warren.

Each CEO’s day looked slightly different depending on a school’s individual needs and goals for students and staff. “So depending on the age of the kids, we’re talking a little bit differently about my job as State Attorney. But the bottom line is, we’re trying to make the kids understand that, just like they have to behave in the classroom, my job is to make sure that people behave when they’re out in the community,” said Warren.

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Principal Chisholm says students there caught on much quicker than expected. “They were asking him, ‘What is your job?’. Then, after that, it was like, ‘Well, how much education do you have to have?’. He brought out his badge and they say, ‘Ok we want his job’ (laughs). It was funny. But again, it started a spark in their minds that there is something else they can do beyond some of the things that they’re exposed to.”