Teacher: Students will benefit from expanded career awareness program
UNION COUNTY — The teacher of a class that helps teach students job skills says plans to expand career awareness offerings at the Union County Advanced Technology Center can help young people find the careers they want.
Technology Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster announced earlier this month that the center will implement a program to increase career awareness among middle school students. The proposed program is an outgrowth of the center’s Career Days which introduce students to educational programs offered at the center and/or the SCC main campus including welding, computer technology, mechatronics, and health care. The Career Days are also designed to make students aware of career opportunities in those and other fields and how the education programs offered by the center and SCC are linked to those opportunities.
Lancaster said the Career Days tours will continue as part of the program which will add additional activities including mentoring, job shadowing, information sessions, and possibly a youth summer camp. She said the goal of the expanded offerings increase the awareness of middle school students of the career options and career paths they will encounter as they continue their education and help them determine the options they will exercise and the paths they will follow.
Those attending the Career Days include the eighth grade students of Randall “Chump” Hanvey’s Business and Career class at Sims Middle School. The class provides students with what Hanvey called “the soft skills” they will need in order to successfully interview for and get a job.
“Business and Career is an introduction to the students of the opportunities that are out there when they graduate,” Hanvey said. “We introduce them to how to fill out applications, how to dress for interviews, how to speak for interviews, just more or less the soft skills.”
For the past two years, Hanvey’s class has taken field trips to the center, touring it during the Career Days. The tours began when Hanvey contacted Lancaster and asked if he could bring his students to the center for a tour. He said he is looking forward to more tours for his students and to the expansion of the career awareness activities at the center.
“I think it would be fantastic because the job market is so competitive and these young people need every advantage they can have,” Hanvey said. “I want them to know that if they can find something they enjoy doing as a career that they’ll never have to work a day in their life as the old saying goes.”
Hanvey said his students have thoroughly enjoyed their tours of the center. He said Lancaster sets up stations with representatives of industry who explain to the students the career opportunities companies like BMW and Gestamp can offer them.
“I have had students to tell me that this was the best field trip they’ve ever had,” Hanvey said. “They said they really enjoyed it and that just goes to show the fantastic job Kathy Jo has done setting up the program for them. Things like what Kathy Jo is doing up there opens their eyes not only to careers but what’s available locally.”
Hanvey said hopes to to not only have his eighth grade students continue to tour the center and, when they are implemented, take part in the expanded career awareness program, but to expand it to other grades as well. He said he hopes to eventually get the sixth and seventh grades involved also.
“We want to help set them on their path by the time they get to high school,” Hanvey said. “We want to help them choose the path they want to look into more.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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