Career fair at AHS designed to bring prospective workers, employers together

One of the first things Taha’an Gordon remembers about his advanced manufacturing class at the D26 Career Center is realizing he could potentially make a career out of designing hoverboards.

“There was a connection between me and the other students,” the Anderson senior said. “We were using a hoverboard that the teacher had built himself, and I was like, this is really cool that I could find a job and a career doing this. I’d be really interested in that.”

Gordon and hundreds of other students from around the county were at Anderson High School Thursday to find out more about possible college and career paths at a career fair that attracted representatives of dozens of employers and universities. The fair was planned to give students chances to learn about a variety of post-secondary opportunities

The event, which started in 2018, has grown exponentially since returning from a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020, organizers said.

“I was really excited to know that the high school students in the community have the opportunity to learn about local businesses and schools,” said Elizabeth Weller, director of the Park Place Children’s Center. “Just the way that they’re bringing the community together and helping people see what the community has to offer is exciting.”

Employers in fields including veterinary, construction, culinary arts, health care, automotive services and advanced manufacturing were represented, giving soon-to-be job seekers a wide range of options to think about.

With an increasing emphasis on post-secondary educational and vocational planning, a surprising number of seniors are still narrowing their choices when it comes to what they’ll be doing after receiving their diplomas, organizers said.

“We still have a decent amount that aren’t sure where they’re going or what they’re doing, so this hopefully will help with that,” said Emily Cummins, workplace learning coordinator at the D26 Career Center. “Honestly, it’s just important for them to know what the options are in our area, because so many don’t know where they can go or know how to reach out to those resources.”

Gordon’s classmate, Rahkai Cooley, said he was evaluating job prospects with an eye toward going to work after serving his commitment in the U.S. Army after he graduates.

“There are a lot of things that will keep jobs open for a lot of people for a long time,” Cooley said. “I’m looking at construction. I went from class to class to try to understand what I really wanted to do, and I found that you don’t necessarily have to be good with your hands to make stuff. I got into construction, and it really opened my eyes.”

Labcorp, a global life sciences and health care company with an office in Greenfield, has been working with D26’s veterinary technician program. The company’s representative at the career fair, Michelle Bowman, said she’s been impressed with students in the program.

“I was really impressed just by their interest and wanting to learn more about other opportunities with the vet tech program,” said Bowman, an early talent recruiter at Labcorp. “We really want to open up opportunities for those who are just graduating and want to enter the workforce right out of school.”

This article appeared in The Herald Bulletin.