Area students explore interests in local job opportunities


As a seventh grader at Seymour Middle School, Darius Ruiz hasn’t given much thought to a career.

Right now, he’s more concerned with getting his homework done and passing his classes.

But on Tuesday, Ruiz and his classmates along with hundreds of other students learned about a variety of career and educational opportunities available in their own community.

Organized by Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., Career Awareness Day is an event for seventh- and eighth-grade students that encourages them to begin thinking about their futures.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Besides SMS, other schools attending were St. Ambrose Catholic School, Sandy Creek Christian Academy and St. John’s Lutheran School Sauers.

In all, more than 700 students made their way around the SMS gym throughout the day, stopping at booths to talk to adults and ask questions about their jobs and the businesses where they are employed.

"The goal of this event is to begin planting seeds to give the students something to think about, careers or skilled trades they never thought of before that might be of interest," said Jody Deckard, workforce partnership coordinator for JCIDC.

Ruiz said he has always had an interest in putting out fires, so he planned to talk with firefighters from the Seymour Fire Department, but he also found another possible career — welding.

"I really liked that," he said of getting to operate a virtual welding machine.

With some guidance from Seymour High School sophomore Tyler Schafstall, Ruiz was able to score better than 80% accuracy in welding on his first try.

"Not bad," Schafstall said.

The demonstration was a way for the high school to promote its new welding program, which is in its first year.

"It’s a great tool for us to get kids interested in what we’re doing," Schafstall said.

Around 30 businesses, service agencies and educational programs were represented at this year’s Career Awareness Day. The Jobs for America’s Graduates and agriculture programs at SHS along with the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection vocational program also set up to provide information to students about different opportunities they will have in high school.

Each business or program was encouraged to bring interactive activities and items to give away as a way to make their time with students memorable. Students were required to fill out a crossword puzzle, too, using information they learned at each booth.

SMS eighth grader Kylee Hileman said she was attracted to careers in the medical field. Right now, she’s most interested in nursing with a focus on geriatrics.

She made sure to visit with Schneck Medical Center, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services and Lutheran Community Home.

"I like helping people, so I want to learn more about jobs where I can do that," she said.

But she wasn’t ruling out other jobs in different fields.

"I think it’s good to learn about them all," she said.

Nate Bryant with Jackson County EMS said in the past, students often didn’t come to them to talk because they weren’t familiar with the job of paramedic or emergency medical technician.

"But that’s changed," Bryant said. "Now, some of them come here first."

Bryant said getting more people interested in the field is important, and that’s why Career Awareness Day should be seen as a valuable way to reach future employees.

"There’s a nationwide decline in paramedics," he said.

One of the most popular booths was Seymour Animal Hospital thanks to Yeti, the Newfoundland. The dog brought many students over to hear more about careers in veterinary medicine.

Quinten Bowles, a seventh grader at SMS, said he would like to be a veterinarian one day because of his love for animals.

He also liked talking with representatives from Schneck Medical Center about respiratory therapy and how it is used to help people breathe.

Bowles said he appreciated Career Awareness Day because it let him explore a variety of career options.

"We can find jobs based on on our skills and interests," he said.

No posts to display