Tuesday morning thousands of high school students converged on Eastside Baptist Church for the 13th annual Chipola Regional Workforce Region 3 Career Fair. The career fair is sponsored in part by Chipola College, Washington-Holmes Technical Center and the five counties of Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties. Students who are in the 9th, 11th and 12th grade attend this one day event. They have the opportunity to visit with business owners and local employers and learn firsthand what these different companies are looking for in future employees. Colleges, Universities, Service Academy's and Technical Centers were all on hand answering questions about their programs and everything available at their specific school. Students sifted through some 60 booths searching for career information that peaked their individual interest for a future career.
Chipola College's Automotive booth was packed with students interested in the direct ignition system used at the booth to entice students to stop by and ask questions. And questions they asked as automotive instructor John Gardner discussed the different opportunities available through the Chipola College Automotive program. Also, Chipola's nursing program and the cosmetology program attracted many inquiring students.
The welding display from Washington-Holmes Vocational School also drew a lot of student attention. The National Guard had their big guns on display, and that naturally attracted a crowd. The recruiters were busy describing the various programs the Army has for students and the many career opportunities military service can provide. In addition to the National Guard, representatives of the military academy were also present to discuss that route to college and becoming an officer.
Local industries also had a high degree of presence. Booths from companies such as, Anderson Columbia, Rex Lumber, Florida Public Utilities, Sunland, Walmart, Florida State Hospital, Aveda, Dept. of Corrections, and others were there.
Chipola Regional Workforce Board representative Kenny Griffin was overjoyed with the turnout. "We had over 65 booths and some 1700 attendees, making this the biggest career fair we've ever held. I was especially proud of the diversity of exhibitors. It really gave the students a great overview of what opportunities are out there," he stated.
Deciding on a career and choosing the perfect school was only part of the information available at the career fair. The most important piece of information made available to students was the different types of financial aid available to assist in paying for their education. Should students have more questions about the different financial aid available to pursue a career they should contact the school of their choice and request more information.