About 900 students attended the third annual Mercer County Eighth Grade Career Fair at the Normandy Banquet Center.
The students came from nine area junior high and middle schools — Farrell, Keystone, Sharon, Sharpsville, Hickory, West Middlesex, Jamestown, Commodore Perry and Reynolds. The career fair was co-sponsored by Laurel Technical Institute and the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee.
The career fair, part of an initiative by LTI and the Shenango Valley Chamber to grow career awareness and promote education and training after high school among area youth, highlighted 11 “career clusters” and engaged 75 area professionals to represent each cluster.
These clusters were agriculture, building trades, business, design/communications/art, education, health, hospitality, the armed forces, science & technology, social sciences and transportation. Representatives from these clusters spoke with students about the education and skills required to work in each field, positives and negatives about their careers and why they chose their professions. They also answered questions posed by the students.
Area professionals look forward to the career fair as a way to promote the goals of their field while helping youth find a career path.
“The career fair has become an event to be anticipated for the staff of St. Paul’s,” said Beckie Erwin, marketing specialist at St. Paul’s and The Ridgewood at Shenango Valley. “These students are the perfect age to attract them as young volunteers, and we can then introduce them to a wide range of career opportunities in senior care. The event is so well-organized and orchestrated that it is a real pleasure to be involved.”
Curtis Ace, guidance counselor at Commodore Perry High School, also praised the event.
“This was the second year our eighth-grade students participated in the Mercer County Career Fair,” he said. “The students and I continue to be impressed with the size, diversity and organization of this event. During the career fair, our students were fully engaged and appreciative of the information provided. This event has proven to be a major component in the career development of our students, and we look forward to attending next year.”
Doug Decker and Debbie Anderson, LTI’s High School Representative, with cooperation from the Education Committee and members of the Chamber, coordinated the event.