Clark County students learn about careers, local employers

Dylan Verkler, left, and Jaden Koster, both from South Vienna Middle School, talk to C. Lenee Landry, from WesBanco, Wednesday during the Clark County 8th Grade Job Fair at Clark State. Bill Lackey/Staff

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Dylan Verkler, left, and Jaden Koster, both from South Vienna Middle School, talk to C. Lenee Landry, from WesBanco, Wednesday during the Clark County 8th Grade Job Fair at Clark State. Bill Lackey/Staff

Local eighth-grade students from Springfield and Clark County middle schools attended a job fair Wednesday to start thinking about possible careers.

The job fair was put on by the Chamber of Greater Springfield at Clark State Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center and hosted 1,200 students and more than 30 employers. It was the fourth annual event.

It’s important for kids to start thinking about possible careers at an early age, said Amy Donahoe, director of workforce development for the chamber.

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“Eighth grade is the time when kids start to think what kind of classes they are going to take in high school and what career path they want to look into,” she said. “These employers are great places to learn what they should concentrate on to be effective later.”

One of the employers at the job fair was Courtyard by Marriott. Mickey Edwards, the food and beverage director at the downtown Springfield hotel, said students need to start thinking about careers earlier.

“It’s imperative they get information now because the way it’s going, by the time they get out of high school, it’s almost too late,” he said.

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Students have opportunities to take courses at the local career tech school or their home school, Edwards said, and those classes can give students an important head-start.

“A lot of eighth graders and the kids this age are very undecided on where they want to do career-wise,” he said. “This gives them a heads up on what kind of education level they need, what jobs are offered.”

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South Vienna student Bryce Hajink said he already knows he wants to go into health science to become a physical therapist when he is older. He was spending time around those booths on Wednesday to learn more about those careers.

“I feel like knowing right now, I can take classes in high school and college,” he said.

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