Career fair expands options
High school students face difficult decisions as their graduation nears.
Some will go off to a four-year university while others head for a community college. Some will elect to find a job or join the military.
Regardless of their decision, Thomasville High School wants to make sure students prepare themselves as much as possible for whatever direction they choose to go.
Dozens of local employers introduced themselves to juniors and seniors during a career fair held Nov. 8. in an effort to give students a heads-up on what awaits them when their high school days are over.
"We invited businesses from the community to come in with hands-on items to show the kids to get them interested in careers that are right here in our community," said Julie Erickson, THS career development coordinator. "The purpose was to let the kids know that you don't have to go to a four-year school to get training. You can go to [Davidson County Community College] and there are businesses in the community where you can get on-the-job training."
Close to three dozen businesses attended the career fair, highlighting jobs in professions like cosmetology, criminal justice and emergency medical services. Students can embark in such careers after completing a two-year program that is more affordable and convenient. Other careers require only a few weeks of training and offer students a chance to earn a comfortable living without having to leave Thomasville.
"A lot of our kids stay in this community," Erickson said. "These businesses brought so many things to draw the kids in. It was packed in here."
Teachers prepped students for several days leading up to the event on how to present themselves to a prospective employer. Company representatives told students what they look for in a job interview and how to make their resume stand out from the crowd. DCCC set up 11 tables for specific programs that can lead to promising and fulfilling careers.
Senior Lisseth Barrios said the fair opened her to possibilities beyond high school.
"I learned a lot," said Barrios. "I was planning on going to a four-year university, but they told me I should go to a community college first. It's a lot cheaper and your GPA is higher so you get accepted into more universities. They had a lot more things at the community college than I expected."
Senior Karen Sosa Avila plans on a career in pediatrics. She spent time in DCCC simulation lab for its EMS program.
"They told me a little experience in the field will help me when I got to medical school," Avila said. "They showed me how to do certain things, like put a tube in a mannequin's arm. They had a lot of different things that interested me."
Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin encouraged the fair as a way to help expand the horizons of students.
“It was a phenomenal experience for our students,” said Pitre-Martin. “We gave them a lot of preparation work in advance. We really looked at jobs you could get directly out of high school, jobs you could with a two-year associate’s degree and jobs you could get with a four-year college degree. We wanted them to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there. It’s about opportunity and choices.”
Pitre-Martin added that THS will hold another career fair next school year.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.