Exploring possibilities

Before walking around the Seymour High School auxiliary gymnasium for the ninth annual Industry Possibility and Opportunity Day, three Crothersville High School juniors had a future career in mind.

After visiting a few of the nearly 30 booths, Claudia Henry, Alisha Basil and Alexis Adair had a better understanding of what it’s going to take to land the job of their dreams.

Henry is interested in criminology, and she said visiting the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department booth helped her learn more about that field.

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“They told me there are programs where I could go ahead and start working there, like internships, and there are summer programs and a whole bunch of stuff that I could help out with,” she said. “I want to be a criminal investigator, and they said it would be best to start off as a cop and work your way up. I found it very helpful because I learned a lot of stuff that I did not know.”

Basil wants to be a radiology technician, so being able to talk to people from Schneck Medical Center was beneficial.

“I found out that if I go to Schneck, I can pursue more into my career for a job shadow in a department that I want to go into,” she said. “Talking to all of the people today, it really kind of set my mind on what would be a good program for me and what college to go to, so it was kind of interesting to find out.”

Adair said she wants to be a counselor or a physical therapist.

“I learned a lot of new things about different careers that I didn’t know, like what it was about,” she said. “I got to learn more about the career path I want to go down, too.”

IPOD started nine years ago and featured contributors of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. A couple of years ago, it was open to other entities.

Along with local industries at this year’s event, there were representatives from the medical and financial fields, a staffing agency, a communications company, law enforcement agencies and area colleges.

Throughout the day, nearly 600 students from Brownstown Central, Crothersville, Medora, Seymour and Trinity Lutheran high schools made their way through the gym.

“Some of them don’t even know what these industries do, so it’s a good way for them to learn what these companies do, who they provide to, who they ship to and all the different careers that are in those industries, as well,” said Jody Deckard, workforce partnership coordinator with JCIDC.

When students entered the gym, they were given a sheet of paper with 10 questions to ask while visiting the booths. That’s a good way to break the ice, said Jackie Hill, workforce director with JCIDC.

This year, there also was a trivia game for students to try. If they answered all 10 questions correctly, their name was put in a drawing. Bluetooth wireless speakers went to a winner at each of the five schools, and one person won the grand prize of a fitness band.

There also were numerous gift cards up for grabs, and some of the booths had their own drawings.

“It’s just a great event,” Hill said. “It definitely ties in with our work in trying to just create awareness for opportunities that are available.”

Jackson County Emergency Medical Services has participated in IPOD for seven years, paramedic Nate Bryant said.

“I think it’s really important for the kids, especially at this age, to be able to see different types of positions, from industrial to medical to business,” he said. “I think it’s important that they get a well-rounded view of different job opportunities that are here in the community, and it gives them an opportunity to connect with different businesses for future job possibilities.”

At the booth, students could check out several pieces of equipment that ambulance personnel use to help patients.

“It’s a common misconception among a lot of people in the community that it’s kind of a ‘Put them in the back of the ambulance and get them to the hospital,’” he said. “The truth of the matter is we do a lot of things on the scene before taking them to the hospital that could make a huge difference in their outcome.”

Two of the top four major industrial employers in Jackson County were next to each other at the event.

At the Valeo booth, Billy Moberly, human resources training specialist, had LED vehicle lights on display to let students know about the company’s product.

“They love the LED lights. They said, ‘Those are flashy looking,’ and I’m like, ‘They are cool looking,’” Moberly said. “It’s a big safety thing. That’s where technology is going now.”

Moberly said he likes participating in IPOD because several students said they know a person who works there, and he hopes they will consider a job there, too.

“Our business is booming and really growing, so it’s good to have the locals so they can go to college, get them a good degree and know there are opportunities here in their hometown,” he said.

At the next table was Lennie Eckhart, accounting supervisor at Seymour Tubing Inc. Students could see examples of steel tubing the company makes for shocks, exhaust systems and drivetrains, along with its customers’ products.

“It’s interesting to hear exactly how their thought patterns are going and wanting to know about the products,” he said.

Once students found out Eckhart is an accountant for the company, he said they realized there are different job opportunities at industries.

“Just because it’s manufacturing doesn’t mean you have to be out there making a part. There are a lot of support departments, too,” he said. “I like to encourage the kids to get as much education as they can.”

Next year is the 10th anniversary of IPOD, and Hill and Deckard are excited to celebrate that feat.

“We want to really add something extra to it,” Hill said.

“We’ll spice it up somehow,” Deckard added. “We’re going to really brainstorm and make it good.”

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For information about Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., visit jcidc.com or find the organization on Facebook.