Expo gives students look at career options [with gallery]

Published 1:39 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

Both students and recruiters agreed the Fifth Annual Covington County Career Expo, “The Next Step,” helps students focus on their futures.

Brandon Walker from the National Guard said that this event is important because it gives the military an opportunity to show students that the military can be a first option.

“There is a stigma that if you join the military, that it has to be a second-class decision,” Walker said. “Like you must have not been good at college or you might not have been able to find a good job, so you must have fell into the military. At this event we are able to show them that that is not the case, because we can provide them with the means to go to college, or provide you with job training that could possibly lead to a full time career. That’s why every branch of the armed forces is here today. We are just here to show students that joining the military is not a second class action and it can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine.”

Straughn High School student Brantley Kelley said that this event has helped open his eyes to the many fields that are in the real world.

“I think that has definitely been beneficial for me,” Kelley said. “It has helped me narrow down what I want to go into. I think the booth where you could see if a woman is pregnant was my favorite booth.”

Red Level High School junior Chantz Russell said that the event gives opportunities for kids that don’t have a good home life.

“This is a great opportunity for them because there are so many options,” Russell said. “It is a fun time and you can actually talk to people that are in the different fields that you want to go into. My favorite booth so far is the cop section.”

Florala High School student Leroy Mitchell said that since the event is for juniors and seniors in high school, it helps them decide what exactly they want to do for the rest of their lives.

“This has really helped me a lot,” Mitchell said. “Since there are mostly juniors and seniors here, we all get to talk to each other about our futures and talk with different professionals in different fields we might go into. I really liked the workout station the most.”

63 local businesses, corporations and professionals set up booths around the Kiwanis center yesterday to educate high school students about the different career paths they can take.

They were separated into 11 different fields including health science; human services, hospitality, education and training, arts/av, technology and communication, business administration, information technology; science, technology, engineering and math; manufacturing, transportation, distribution and logistics; finance, marketing, sales and service; agriculture, food and natural resources, architecture and construction; law, public safety, corrections and security; military; and AIDT.

Karen Langford, a nurse from the Beacon Children’s Hospital in Luverne, said that since students are the future, they need to be educated in what careers are out there at an early age.

“It is so important for students to learn early what they want to do,” Langford said. “I tell all students that I am around that they need to be productive citizens, that is sort of my philosophy. It is important for them to see what is really out there. I am from a psychiatric hospital in Luverne and several kids say, ‘I didn’t even know there was one of those around here.’ Then I had a child who came by today and said that she was at our hospital a while ago and that we really helped her so that makes me feel really good that she was able to turn her situation around.”

Clark Kilcrease, a lineman for the Covington Electric Cooperative, said that events like these are important because they are able to promote the trade profession.

“The popularity in the trade profession is growing at an extensive rate,” Kilcrease said. “When we were younger, our parents told us that we had to go to college and then get a job, that was just the way it was. Since that happened there is a huge opening in the trade field and students are able to see that when they come to events like these.”

Opp Chamber of Commerce director Kelly Brandin said that these events help focus students’ minds on planning for the future.

Brandin set up steps at her booth and had a ladder with a star at the top, where students had to pick their career field they wanted to go into and then take a picture.

“We are taking steps to climb the ladder of success to reach for the stars,” Brandin said. “ I have been telling the kids that they need to understand that they have to take steps toward their goal before they reach that success.”