NEW PARIS — The annual student College & Career Fair continues to grow each year, successfully connecting local Senior’s with a future career path.
This year’s event was held at National Trail on Thursday, Nov. 1, and brought all NT high school students ,and seniors from all Preble County high schools, to Trail to meet with potential employers, colleges, military recruiters, and industry leaders to learn about possible education and career paths.
According to National Trail High School Counselor Brittany Egbert, this year 45 colleges, 20 careers, and three military branches were represented at the College & Career Fair. The event was held to give seniors some ideas for their future and what steps need to be taken.
“This is very beneficial for the students, because we are not in an area with cities around us and someone has to host something like this. Since there wasn’t already a College & Career Fair, we decided to host it ourselves,” she said.
“We are giving them an opportunity to find where they want to go next year. Working in the high school, I find that a lot of my Seniors don’t know what to do once they graduate. While we want this for our kids, we opened it up so the whole community has access to a career fair. Collegewise, we have a large majority of the main Ohio schools here and some branch schools. All of the surrounding schools in our area and the Indiana ones that offer in-state tuition to us. We have our home-based schools here. For the businesses, I tried my best to get as many here in our county as possible, because a lot of kids want to stay at home.”
Egbert reach out to a variety of different industries, to try and get any possible interest for the students of Preble County.
One business was Foundations, which is an ICF/IID in New Paris which specializes in the care of children and adults with mild to profound developmental disabilities and individuals who are behaviorally challenged. For them, it is important to reach out to high school students and show them what the job force is and how to be a productive member.
“We come here today for a couple reasons. Obviously, the job force is difficult, but if you catch kids when they’re younger and teach them about the job force it helps prepare those individuals. We do need them,” Dede Wright-Deloney said. “I think working at Foundations would help them be more appreciative, because we take life for granted.
“What I’ve noticed is that almost every person who comes to our booth says they want to help someone. Most people do want to help somebody, so I want to help start them out in a field that is rewarding. This can be a stepping stone, as well. It is an opportunity to get kids to stay on the right step, use this as a stepping stone, get some of their tuition paid back, and move onto the field they want.”
Cargill Animal Nutrition and Provimi, who has a plant in Lewisburg, came to the College & Career Fair because they have job openings and an interest in helping young adults reach their full potential. With the new plant they are building, the company is going to have jobs to fill in the near future.
Cargill representatives said it was important to share with the students the many different fields that are employed at Cargill. One can “build a career, from beginning to end, at Cargill.” Representatives from the company also spoke to students about communication and other important skills in the workplace.
This annual career fair has been held for more than 10 years and it helps the students of Preble County decide what they want to do with their lives going forward.
“I was pleased to see many colleges represented at the fair but especially the number of businesses and manufacturers for students to engage with. I think schools have done a good job of focusing to have our students ready for three pathways after graduation — enrolled in a post-secondary learning institution, employed in a job that has advancement potential, and/or enlisted in one of our branches of the military and taking advantage of the learning opportunities within that branch,” Preble Shawnee Superintendent Matt Bishop said.
“The message isn’t ‘you have to go to college’ anymore. The landscape of opportunity has evolved and we, as schools, must do everything we can to prepare our students to meet those challenges. It is important for our students to be exposed to as many post-secondary options as possible. There are a number of quality educational and workforce options in our area.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH