‘THE DISCOVERY PHASE’: High school students attend career fairPublished 10:38pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Beaufort County Schools teamed up with the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Beaufort County JobLink to give high school juniors their first glimpse of the local job market.
From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, students filed into the Washington Civic Center for hour-long tours of more than 35 booths occupied by area businesses.
Organizer Stacey Gerard said she deliberately allowed only local businesses to participate.
“I’m really pleased that the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce has collaborated with JobLink and Beaufort County Schools to highlight job opportunities available here,” she said. “It has been a fantastic day.”
Southside High School student Wyatt Pechez said he was surprised to see how many job openings were available locally. Classmate Rahaeem Shelton agreed. He said he was surprised to see how many opportunities for hands-on experience were available.
“It was very educational,” Shelton said.
Danielle Street, a youth employment specialist at JobLink Career Centers, was one of those opportunities. She talked to nearly 200 students about the center’s youth work program, which offers training, education and employment opportunities to people ages 16 through 21.
The event was organized into career clusters, with businesses on hand from each of the 16 clusters.
Christine Lecompte represented health careers. Lecompte, a human-resources representative with Vidant Beaufort and Vidant Pungo hospitals, offered handouts that listed the academic requirements and average annual salaries of more than 80 medical-related careers.
“They got a lot of information they may not have had, otherwise,” Lecompte said of the students in attendance. “It also helped them get to know more about the hospital.”
Southside High School student Darrius Whitley said the career day was informative. He was pleased to learn about opportunities available to students: “The internships that you can get paid for,” he said.
PotashCorp-Aurora’s Julie Potter used the career day to give students a history lesson and show them the products that include phosphate. Like many of the business representatives at the event, Potter said, she was impressed by the great questions she received. Students asked about the careers open to women and learned that women held many of the same positions as men.
“They asked about degrees needed and if any high school classes would help them prepare for a career at Potash,” Potter said. “What’s neat about this is students are still in the discovery phase. It’s ‘What do I need to get there?’ instead of ‘Look at what I have to offer.’ (like at college career fairs).”