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Middle School Career Fair held at MAC

PARK HILLS – Mineral Area College hosted a Middle School Career Fair on April 13, on the main campus in Park Hills, bringing approximately 800 students from the Bismarck, Central, Farmington, Fredericktown, North County, St. Paul and West County school districts.

Alison Sheets, MAC Career Services director, said that last summer, local education counselors, instructors and the allied health professionals at Parkland Health Center determined a need for youth career exploration opportunities in the county schools.

A career fair planning committee was formed by Alison Sheets, Dual Credit/Enrollment Director Julie Downs and Admissions Director Julie Sheets, as well as Farmington Middle School Counselor Tess Moore.

The half-day event was designed around the Missouri Department for Elementary and Secondary Education’s Career Paths & Career Clusters.

Sheets said the DESE Career Paths are typically introduced to the students in middle school. The six different paths are used as a logical way of organizing occupations and careers for teachers aiming to open students’ eyes to the various career, training and education options available. The six career paths are: Health Services; Industrial & Engineering Technology; Human Services; Natural Resources Agriculture; Business, Management & Technology; Arts & Communications.

During the Career Fair at MAC, middle school students were put into traveling groups of 30 and toured almost the entire MAC campus, from the Law Enforcement Academy and Advanced Manufacturing Labs on the north end of campus to the Technology Building on the south end of the main campus. Among the many presentations they got to see demonstrations of a 3-D printer, the Allied Health lab with sim-manikins, and they participated in group activities in the horticulture classroom.

According to Sheets, the day was considered a success by most everyone involved, including participating students.

“It was fun to hear the kids spontaneously ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhhh’ when they found a certain aspect of a career that particularly appealed to them, or a demonstration that helped them make a connection to everyday life,” she said. “The success of this collaborative event can be contributed to all the local educators and community professional speakers that were involved.

“TRIO staff and MAC full time and classified staff served as student tour guides. Community professionals, MAC faculty, and MAC students presented their chosen education, training and skills needed in their industry. It’s never too early — or even too late — to figure out what one wants to do in their career.”

Sheets said the planning committee wanted to recognize the following professionals who took the time to present career opportunities in their industry: Parkland Hospital, Cindy Wampler, RN, ICU and Med/Surg Manager; Brandon Warren, Advanced Modality Tech (Radiology); Lisa West, Physical Therapy Manager; Bill Cain, Lab Technician; Sheri Graham, Director Human Resources; Tina Tharp, Volunteer Coordinator; Keri VanDevin, Cape Career Technical Center; Rob Love, former KMOV journalist and current UniTec instructor; Chris Morrison, State Farm Insurance; Jessica Harmon and Luann Honerkamp, Owners Dress 2 Impress; Chip Peterson, Ben Davis, FCS Financial; Jay Scruggs, Juvenile Detention Center; Theron Harder, US Tool Group; Matt Vineyard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

Finally, the planning committee recognized Graham Family Farms, who sponsored the transportation bus costs for three participating schools; and Parkland Hospital for donating lunch to the day’s 24 career guest speakers.

Students visit MAC’s expansive Advanced Manufacturing Lab, where they learned about the variety of manufacturing technology careers available to them.

Students visit MAC’s expansive Advanced Manufacturing Lab, where they learned about the variety of manufacturing technology careers available to them.

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