Finding jobs of the future: Local companies connect to current high schoolers in large fair

The goal is to connect students to jobs in the Dayton region, superintendent of Dayton STEM school says.

Students at the Dayton Regional STEM School went to their second “normal” career fair after the pandemic, with more booths and opportunities than last year.

Dayton’s STEM school holds an annual college and career fair for its middle and high school students. On Tuesday, about 50 different organizations met with students, including several Wright State University, Miami University and University of Dayton departments, plus Sinclair Community College, the Air Force, local manufacturing companies and more.

ExploreExpensive Oakwood traffic signal plan ‘critically important’ for Ohio 48

“It’s both non-STEM and STEM fields, a little bit of something for everybody,” said Stephanie Adams Taylor, director of strategic partnerships for the STEM school and the organizer for the event. “And it’s just a great opportunity for all of our students to explore what’s next.”

Kent Williams, a freshman, said the career fair was helpful in identifying interests.

“I don’t know if it’s a change in perspective, but I think it’s a lot better than last year,” Williams said. “I think it’s more interactive.”

STEM school students are required to do two job shadows, and some students say the career fair helps identify their potential job shadow opportunities and make connections.

Javeria Shaikh, a junior, said she was able to set up a job shadow last year through a connection at the career fair with an environmental engineer who worked on water sustainability. Shaikh said she enjoyed the experience but decided it wasn’t a career she would enjoy.

ExploreWho was Oscar Boonshoft? Meet the namesake behind the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

She said she was interested in speaking to healthcare providers at this year’s job fair and can talk to colleges about programs that fit her various interests.

“Something I go by is connections and communication, and so just making that relationship, because that can help you later on in your life,” she said.

Freshman Jerry Patrick said he was interested in Wright State’s astronomy exhibit and another exhibit related to aerospace engineering.

“I can’t wait to do this again next year,” Patrick said.

Robin Fisher, Dayton STEM school superintendent, said the career fair was part of the school’s mission. The school is an independent, non-charter public school, and students are picked to go to the school based on a lottery system.

Fisher said the career fair was a way to expose students to careers specifically in the Dayton area. The school wants its students to stay in Ohio and take jobs here, instead of feeling they need to go elsewhere to get a good job, she said.

“We want them to know that this is a great place to live, to have a job, to raise a family and to stay and contribute to the community,” Fisher said. “That’s part of our of our mission.”

About the Author