A look ahead

Career Day gives eighth-graders a glimpse of future employment options

Sheffield Area Middle High School eighth grader Isabella Lyon uses virtual technology Friday at Eighth Grade Career Day to practice painting with the help of Warren County Career Center autobody collision repair student Caleb Eyler.

More than 300 Warren County eighth-graders took some time to think about their futures.

The Warren Forest Higher-Education Council School to Work program and Warren County School District collaborated on the annual Eighth Grade Career Day on Friday at the Holy Redeemer Center in Warren.

Those students will soon have to make decisions about what course they want their careers to take — and what kinds of classes they might need to pursue them.

“We have over 25 local businesses and industries along with career center shops,” School to Work Coordinator Jesse DeLoof said. “The kids go around and explore the local businesses.”

Local employers represented at the event included Warren County Adult Probation, the Allegheny National Forest, Warren County School District,Warren County Fire Services, City of Warren Fire Department, City of Warren Police Department, Radio Partners LLC, Northwest Bank, PNC Bank, Kersey and Associates, Moments in Time Studio, Warren General Hospital, Rouse Estate, Hertel and Brown, Russell Veterinary Hospital, Ellwood National Forge, Betts Industries, Clarkball LLC, and Warren County Career Center programs: auto collision, business and accounting, electronics, health, welding, and protective services.

Students were required to visit at least one kiosk from each of four employer groupings.

Many moved to the back of the room where bright lights and loud sounds were coming from the career center electronics table. Some dared to be shocked by handheld devices. Others watched the arcs rise up Jacob’s ladder.

“This is what draws people in,” senior Garrett Wilcox said. In fact, he remembers being drawn to similar lights and sounds when he was in eighth grade. “I’m pretty sure I stood around this electronics table and got shocked, just like they did.”

“We’re describing to people what kinds of jobs you can get into in electronics — engineering, programming, and such,” Wilcox said.

It’s not just about high school coursework at the career center. Several of the electronics program students are earning credit at Pennsylvania College of Technology through a dual-enrollment program.

At other career center tables, students could use virtual painters and welders to practice a craft without making any lasting changes to objects in the room.

Students were put in handcuffs at the protective services table.

Students from each of the district’s middle schools spent 40 minutes at career day.