MIAMI COUNTY — Approximately 250 Troy sophomores, 250 Piqua sophomores, and over 1,000 others from schools throughout Miami and Shelby counties attended Explore Careers Day on Wednesday at Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua.
The program is an annual outreach the UVCC conducts in order to expose the center’s programs to tenth graders who would like to get a head start on a specialized career.
“We do this every year, usually in late November or early December,” said Andrew Snyder, recruitment coordinator for UVCC. “I don’t just want to get students in here for the sheer fact of numbers — I want the right student in the right program. I want the perfect fit for them to use for the rest of their life. Whether it’s college credit, special training, or whatever else, we want our programs to benefit kids down the road, and it’s important to find what’s right for them.”
Prior to Explore Careers Day, Snyder visited sophomores at each of the 14 participating schools, accompanied by 25 students currently engaged in UVCC programs.
“We basically hold a little job fair,” Snyder said. “Every one of our programs is represented, just by a little booth. Students are exposed quickly there to some things they maybe haven’t thought about. As a sophomore, it’s tough to make career decisions, but this program helps some to at least find something they’re interested in. On that day, each student got to choose two programs they wanted to see today.”
On Wednesday, staff and student volunteers oriented mixed groups of tenth graders through the center’s programs, varying from manufacturing and machining technologies to culinary arts and early childhood care.
Many of UVCC’s student volunteers expressed that their participation in the event came from wishes to extend the news of their own positive experience, and demonstrate to underclassmen the many opportunities available.
“My goal is to try to get some kids interested in what we do, and show them how important this is in society and for everyday use,” said Isaiah Curl, an apprentice student in machining technologies. “We machine parts for ag and power, automotive, the labs, and even the lockers. Everything in here is done from a machine.”
“I think Explore Careers Day is a unique experience, because getting to see and be active in each area tells people whether or not they’d actually want to be here,” said Jersain Brux, of Sidney, who is a senior in UVCC’s graphic arts program. “For me, I was starting to get more into drawing my sophomore year, so when I actually came over here, I thought it was pretty cool and got connected.”
“When I first walked in here sophomore year, I noticed the atmosphere was totally different from anything I’d seen,” said Alex Webb, of Pleasant Hill, who is a junior in the graphic arts program. “The students were working together, and doing everything themselves. I thought that was really awesome, because you usually don’t see that nowadays. I thought this would be an amazing program, because there’s nothing more important to me than art.”
Tonight from 6-7:30 p.m., the center will host an open house allowing sophomores to come with their parents or guardians to enroll in programs for their junior year.
“It’s a first-come, first-served basis,” Snyder said. “Most of our labs cap at 25 students, so it really is crucial to come in and sign up if students want it. We’ll have some programs that fill up tomorrow night.”
According to Snyder, the annual event is made possible by smooth collaboration between UVCC and area high schools.
“There’s a great collaboration between us and these associate schools,” Snyder said. “Their counselors do a great job with me setting this up, and they’re all committed to finding that right fit for students. It just shows a great unity we have with Miami and Shelby County.”
For more information, visit www.uppervalleycc.org.