Centerville High School held its third annual skilled trades panel with industry leaders recently, giving hundreds of students the chance to hear about opportunities in the workforce and the education and experience needed to fill those roles.

Area business leaders visit Centerville students

The event gave hundreds of students the chance to hear about opportunities in the workforce and the education and experience needed to gain employment.

The Dayton Daily News has investigated the future of Dayton’s economy and found:

— Most high-paying jobs require more than a high school degree, and

— Nearly one-fourth of all U.S. workers are age 55 or older, creating a hole in the workforce when they reach retirement.

MORE: Dayton’s top in-demand jobs: What’s really going on

Panelists wanted to make sure Centerville students understand that getting an education will prepare them to obtain the jobs that will be available.

“We started seeing that we have students wondering how they will take care of themselves because they just don’t like school,” said Jason Brown, the career based intervention teacher at CHS and the district’s School of Possibilities. “We’ve got to take these students and immerse them in other possibilities. Then, the career side said, ‘Yes, we have a need, let’s partner and see what we can do.’”

This year’s panel included representatives from Albrecht Wood Interiors, All Service Plastic Molding Inc., Applied Mechanical Systems Inc., Bethany Village, Hobart Institute of Welding, Reliable Electric, Sinclair Community College, Stonecreek Dental Care, T&R Welding Systems Inc. and Voss Auto Network. These companies encompass fields from manufacturing and construction to healthcare, welding and more.

MORE: Local worker shortage a concern as aging workforce retires

“Now is the perfect time to get into these careers,” said Brian Albrecht of Albrecht Wood Interiors. “This is a viable option that doesn’t include a lot of college debt and is not a second-class option. Some kids are 100 percent better at this type of work than they are at sitting through a lecture.”

Other panelists agreed, noting there will be a massive labor shortage and a need for many skills in just a few years.

“Get out and job shadow and get involved in a path you’re interested in,” advised Tim Whalen, service manager for Voss Auto Network.

In addition to hearing about job opportunities and training, students also learned about the importance of other skills, such as having a positive attitude and energy, being punctual and prepared, having confidence, and even being able to focus on work rather than being on a smartphone.

Students had a chance to interact with panelists one-on-one after the presentation to get more information about career fields that caught their interest.

“I came today because I wanted to get a feel for other jobs since I don’t directly know what I want to do,” said junior Elijah Woodard as he waited to speak with one of the panelists. “I think it’s very interesting that a lot of these guys, before they started their jobs, they didn’t have any intent to go into that job.”

MORE: Nearly half of Wright-Patt’s 30K employees are close to retirement

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