With sweet potatoes spread across the table in front of her, Brooke Crumpler enjoyed speaking to teenagers about career opportunities in agriculture.
Crumpler, director of marketing for Southern Produce Distributors, Inc. was one of many professionals at the annual Sampson-Clinton Career Fair, held Wednesday morning at Clinton High School. Student from Clinton City Schools (CCS), Sampson County Schools (SCS) and Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy explored a variety of career options in various industries, thanks to area business leaders.
Based out of Faison, Southern Produce grows, packs and ships the crop.
“I think it’s really important to recruit local, young talent that’s ambitious,” Crumpler said. “I’ve personally enjoyed the opportunity to meet with all these young people and tell them what we have to offer at Southern Produce and how we can help them reach their goals and be successful.”
Aldo Ochoa, a Midway High School student, said it was a good opportunity for students, but he wanted to see more law enforcement agencies present.
“That’s what I’m really interested in,” Ochoa said. “But it’s pretty good for people looking for jobs and future careers.”
Carsse Lucas of Midway felt the same way about the career fair.
“It’s a good place to find out if you want to do anything,” he said while pointing out industries such as agriculture. “It’s pretty good opportunities.”
As a former teacher, Crumpler enjoyed coming back to a school setting. She thinks it’s important for students to attend career fairs.
“I remember being in high school, being lost and not knowing what I really wanted to do and trying to find my way,” Crumpler said. “The best way to find your way is to meet people that do what you can potentially do.”
THC, which provides guidance for at-risk youths, requires cadets to complete what’s called a Master Action Plan for future plans. Earl Spell, a THC placement coordinator, expressed how the the fair helps with that mission.
“This is their opportunity to look and see what’s available so they can go out and apply for jobs,” Spell said. “This is to help them make up their mind, just like the high school students make up their mind about what career field they want to go into.”
Some of the other organizations, companies and businesses in attendance were Rooms to Go, the City of Clinton, Star Communications, Hog Slat, Smithfield, and the Clifton Seed Company and Clinton Fire and Rescue. Ginger Stone, Career and Technical Education (CTE) director, said the fair was good way to get employers into the school system.
“It’s a good opportunity for everybody,” Stone said.
Kristy Hobbs Moore, CTE Coordinator for CCS, said the districts were excited about the opportunities presented by employers.
“Our students have done a great job by asking a lot of questions,” Moore said. “It’s good exposure for the students overall about careers in the area.
Summerlyn Faircloth, a career advisor for Lakewood High School, shared appreciation for the presenters too.
“If it wasn’t for these companies and these businesses, our children wouldn’t be exposed to some of the careers that are local,” Faircloth said. “We just think it helps to guide their future.”