01/12/10 — Businesses will be offered slots at career fair for seventh-graders

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Businesses will be offered slots at career fair for seventh-graders

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 12, 2010 1:46 PM

Organizers are hopeful that next month's middle school career fair for Wayne County's seventh-grade students will link what students are doing in the classroom with their future studies, as well as career choices.

The career fair will he held Feb. 16-17 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day at the Family Y.

Each school will have an assigned two-hour time period in which to bring its seventh-graders.

All private, home and parochial schools with seventh-grade students are urged to contact Janet Brock at the county Chamber of Commerce at 734-2241 or e-mail jbrock@waynecountychamber.com.

Meanwhile, businesses are being sought to participate in the event, said career fair committee chairman Dr. Debbie Grady. The event is being sponsored by the chamber's Education Network.

"We would love to have the businesses to participate on both days, but if there is a business that can only come one day we will certainly accommodate them," she said. "This career fair is focused on the actual career, not on the actual business, and what that career is about and the skills and courses that might help them in that career area.

Ms. Grady said that the committee is looking for people from every possible career -- those that require a college education and those that require apprenticeships and technical training.

Ed Wilson, chairman of the chamber's Education Council, said the effort came out of a meeting with several middle school principals, who suggested that a career fair would be a good way to help convince students to stay in school in order to get a good job.

The middle school career fair, a first for the county, is modeled after ones held for high school seniors. Other counties have sponsored similar and successful middle school events for years, Ms. Grady said.

"When we met with middle school principals they shared with us that many times middle school students begin the dropout process very early, before they reach high school and can legally drop out at 16 because they just don't feel a connection between school and their future. So we want to try to reach those students at an earlier age than high school so that they begin to link what they are doing in school to what's going to possibly be their career down the road and also link the courses they select in the eighth grade for high school will also be linked back to a career path," she said.

"We hope this will give seventh graders the opportunity to explore various career options and also learn about post-secondary education and how that relates to career choices they may have an interest in pursuing.

"It is really an opportunity for the businesses to share something about their career with these seventh-graders," she said.

To prepare for the event, seventh graders are learning about possible careers through a variety of activities. Angie Rains, a counselor with Wayne County Schools, is coordinating the pre-activities with the other middle school counselors.

When students arrive at the event they will have chosen three of the five major career clusters they are interested in learning more about. There are as many as 10 different career choices in a cluster.

The career fair isn't all that the committee is working on.

"The whole concept is we want to work with the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders," Ms. Grady said. "We are going to use the career fair in the seventh grade. We are going to try to do a speakers' bureau for sixth-graders and then in the eighth grade hopefully some job shadowing or something like that."

Interested parents also are being invited to participate.