Champaign County career expo to hundreds of students, community members

A career expo will be held in Champaign County next week for students from all five high schools as well as the public.

“Champaign County has so many opportunities for employment and has much to offer. This is a great way for businesses, schools and the community to connect to build awareness and to fill vacant job openings,” said Christina Flowers, Champaign County’s business school liaison.

The expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, 384 Park Ave. in Urbana, in the 4H building.

All juniors and seniors from each district in the county — Graham Local, Mechanicsburg Exempted Village, Triad Local, Urbana City and West Liberty-Salem Local — as well as 50 students from Ohio Hi-Point will attend the expo.

“The career expo will serve as both a career fair for job openings and an exploration opportunity for students to learn about the 3 E’s - Enrollment, Enlistment and Employment,” Flowers said.

Graham will send 260 juniors and seniors to the expo that “exposes our students to the many great career opportunities that are right in their backyard” and “directly aligns” with their focus on the 3 E’s.

“The ultimate goal is to help our students plan for their future and to provide a platform for local industry to recruit and retain local graduates in the area. It is a win-win for all involved, and we are excited to see this event grow and evolve each year,” said Superintendent Chad Lensman.

Mechanicsburg will send 120 juniors and seniors, as well as several students from the technology media class, who will be recording the event to create promotional pieces for the career expo.

Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said they have a focus on preparing students for the three E’s after graduation, and with the support of their student success coordinator, Sarah Shepherd, they are being intentional about career exploration to show all students “that there are countless pathways to success after school.”

“The career expo is the perfect opportunity for us to grow local talent and retain future employees by connecting to students and families early,” Prohaska said.

Triad will send 120 juniors and seniors to help them be more forward thinking and prepare for their next steps in life.

“We desire for each of our students to consider all options that are available to them as they transition out of high school to whatever pathway in life they choose. We are certainly not advocating college for all; simply, we want each student to consider what is the best option for them to pursue after high school graduation,” said Patrick Johnson, director of Academic Programs.

Last year, 849 students attended the career expo and roughly 20 community members, although that number wasn’t counted, Flowers said. This is because she said it was not as well known, which is also part of the reason they changed the time for the public.

There will be a variety of businesses, colleges and military to meet with students and the community, many businesses will have hands-on experiences for those who attend, and areas for businesses to offer on-the-spot interviews.

In attendance at the event will be 33 businesses, such as Amazon, Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities, JSP Joint Fire District, Madison Correctional Institution, Mercy Health and Weidmann Electrical Technology; 17 colleges, including Bowling Green State University, Clark State College, The Ohio State University — Lima and Wittenberg University; and military branches, including the Ohio Army National Guard, U.S. Army and U.S. Marines.

Rich Ebert, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership, said this event helps local employers gain exposure to students, shows them the quality of candidates, allows them to talk about their quality training and how it provides skills, and showcases them to the students as well.

“Champaign County has many diverse employment options that allow for students to stay in the county and make working here a much more desirable option,” he said. “Having the support of the local employers at the Career Expo is vital to helping students learn that their options for post-high school are abundant.”

The event is sponsored by the Champaign County Fairgrounds, Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services and West Ohio Tech Prep.

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