Morning Sun
  • Area career options highlighted for high schoolers

  • Representatives from Southeast Kansas area businesses met with about 400 juniors and seniors from regional high schools to talk about local career opportunities.

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  • Representatives from Southeast Kansas area businesses met with about 400 juniors and seniors from regional high schools to talk about local career opportunities.
    The Crawford County Career Opportunities Day on Wednesday offered students the opportunity to learn what types of talent local companies are looking for and to practice the type of interaction that takes place at career fairs.
    Students from Northeast, Frontenac, Riverton, Pittsburg, Colgan and Southeast high schools browsed the booths throughout the day and also heard a presentation on communication skills.
    Anna Gudde, Special Events Director at the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said the day went well.
    “I thought today went great,” she said. “We had an excellent variety of vendors and more schools involved this year so I would say it was a success.”
    Sami Dunlap, AVP of Marketing at University Bank, said she visited with about 30 students during the morning session, and was impressed with the questions they asked.
    “They’ve had a lot of good questions as far as degrees required ... and what all goes into a bank,” she said.
    Carol Puckett, a recruiter in Via Christi’s human resources office, said many of the students who visited with her are interested in health care careers. She said she was able to tell them about different opportunities they could have at the hospital and to talk with them about the types of jobs that could help with career development.
    Some of the students who attended were excited about the opportunity to meet potential future employers.
    Josh Thompson, a senior at Southeast High School, said he plans to attend Pittsburg State University to major in construction management, and then would like to find work locally.
    “I’d love to work at Crossland Construction someday,” he said.
    Southeast Senior Brad Huffine also said he is Pitt State-bound, but plans to study business, then go on to do additional higher education, including getting an MBA and CPA, among other accomplishments, before someday running an area business.
    Virginia Smith and Rose Sutton, both juniors at Southeast, enjoyed the event even though it didn’t correlate as closely to their chosen careers.
    Smith said she already has her CNA and wants to work at Via Christi Village, but that she plans to go to Missouri Southern State University and study to be a speech language pathologist, and Sutton said she plans to study pre-vet medication, a field that was not represented at the fair.
    For companies, including Atkinson Industries, Pitsco Education and LEGO Education, the event offered the chance to talk to students about what they do and the talent pool they need.
    Gary Mattson, HR Manager at Atkinson Industries, said they build metal enclosures that house electrical equipment, and the company employes welders and electricians.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pitsco/LEGO representatives said they need all types of professionals, including business, human resources, marketing, education, graphic design, programmers, engineers, manufacturing and teachers.
    Representatives at KPRS and Names and Numbers said they didn’t see the volume of students that other booths did, but that the students they spoke with seemed very interested in opportunities available in broadcasting and graphic arts, respectively.
    Area colleges also were represented and presented information about coursework options to be competitive in growing industries.
    The career opportunities day is coordinated by the Business Education Alliance, which is an organization of business professionals who seek to create a link between school and work.
    Pitsco Education Services Manager Ruthie Muller said the BEA began as a grant-funded initiative between USD 250, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Pittsburg, but has continued on and offers several events each year, including a resume assistance day, mock interviews, a job shadowing day and the career opportunities day.

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