Did you ever know what you wanted to be when you grew up? It's a question that even as adults we tend to ponder. Had we known as teenagers what those jobs actually entailed would we have changed the path we were on?
The thought behind learning from experience has helped Glasgow High School Principal Shawnda Zahara-Harris create the first-of-its-kind career fair this spring. She was able to gain a grant for $7,000 to create a hands-on job fair that will get the community involved. Not only will local businesses bring information on the type of work they offer, but they'll try to provide hands-on experiences so students can really get a feel for the work.
"The idea is to have kids build carpentry for that industry, maybe a phlebotomist will help show kids how to set up an IV on a fake simulation, or crime analyst can show them how to fingerprint," Zahara-Harris said.
The hands-on activities is what the goal of the grant included. They received notification they were awarded the money in early November. Kids will be able to talk to experts and get an experience to help them gauge what types of careers they might want to pursue.
"We want to expose kids and build a partnership with the local community businesses," Zahara-Harris said.
The grant came from the Montana University System Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and is intended to target the non-traditional career tracks. It'll take place in the high school gym on April 24, which also happens to be the national "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." The hope is that this could lead to more partnerships with the community that might bring apprenticeship programs or help students gain certifications before they graduate.
Zahara-Harris explained that this will be the school's chance to give back to the community and might help bring students back to Glasgow after they finish their higher education. Bringing the youth back to the community will possibly help grow the community as well. If the fair is a success it could bring more opportunities to expand.
"In order for it to be successful we need 30 participants, but we're hoping for 100," Zahara-Harris said.
Similar career fairs have been seen in Bozeman, Sidney, Great Falls and Missoula. With advertisement costs covered, along with other costs, businesses only need to come up with creative ways to get students involved.
The high school is looking for more businesses to participate and has gained a few confirmations. The Glasgow Job Service has also been working with the high school and they are hoping to find a unique way to participate as well.
Road crews, the landfill, the hospital, implement dealers and the hospitality services in the area, and many other services, are all careers the high school hopes to expose to students. Depending on how the interaction between students and businesses go the idea is that, perhaps in the future, juniors and seniors might be able to apply for job shadows, apprenticeships and training programs.
"The dream is big and we'll see what happens, you just have to take a day and look outside the box to touch base with around 250 junior high and high school students," Zahara-Harris said.
Anyone interested in in being a part of the career fair needs to contact Shawnda Zahara-Harris by Feb. 15. You can call the high school at 228-2485 or email email@example.com.