As students, Chandler Jones and Bruce McCray enjoyed having an opportunity to learn about future opportunities after Midway High School.
They were one of many students who participated in an annual career fair hosted by Clinton City Schools and Sampson County Schools at Clinton Community Church. One of the attractions for McCray was Wayne Community College and information about mechanical education. For Jones it was the electrician exhibit.
“When you’re a senior the main thing you think about is college,” McCray said. “You need to get into what you want to do so you can specialize in it and have a career waiting for you after graduation.”
Jones felt the same way.
“It’s better to plan and know what you want to do, so you’re not doing something you don’t want to do ever day of your life,” Jones said.
The career fair allowed sophomores, juniors and seniors to interact with professionals from a variety of fields. Some of them included business, engineering, health and the military. Its theme for 2016 was “Building Brighter Futures.” Participating schools included Clinton High School, Hobbton High School, Lakewood High School, Midway High School, Union High School. Cadets from Tarheel ChalleNGe also participated.
Benjamin Baker, chef from Ribeyes Steakhouse of Clinton, spoke to visitors about opportunities in culinary arts.
“Overall, I’m very excited that the students are coming out and learning about the difference between a career and a job,” Baker said in regards to following a lifelong goal. “Some of them really don’t know the difference, we’re here to educate them about that.”
Baker’s is the art of the preparing food for people to enjoy.
“A lot of people didn’t know what culinary arts was and what it means to be a chef, what it takes or the pay,” he said. “A lot of chefs get a bad rap from what’s on TV and it not just that. It’s more passion an it’s a lot of community involvement. The possibilities are limitless.”
Jason Walters, industrialization and engineer manager for Schindler Elevators, said the fair exposed students to a variety of careers.
“We get a lot of baseline questions about what it takes to be prepared,” Walters said. “We’re talking to them about community college, what they can do now to prepare for it and we’re talking to them about what universities and industries are expecting as well.”
Walter, who serves on the Clinton City Schools board of Education, was joined by Jonathan Markle, a Schindler engineer. The North Carolina State University graduate recently began with the company.
“I just got out of college, so my advice about college is still fairly relevant,” he said. “I remember a lot of it, which is helpful. I feel that I’m able to answer a lot of relevant questions.”
Some of the other organizations included Sampson Regional Medical Center, Sampson County Emergency Medical Services, Smithfield and Star Communications.
Ginger Stone, Career and Technical Education director for Sampson County Schools, said the career fair allowed students to interact and receive answers from local professionals, with no restrictions.
“In the past, we’ve assigned them groups based on their career interest,” Stone said about exploring different interest. “This time we did not do that. We’re letting them go table to table and talk to whoever they had an interest in.”
Stone was one several committee members from local school districts.
“It’s an wonderful opportunity and we hope all kids take advantage of it,” Stone said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.