Career, college event grows: Expo focuses on military, trade schools

GREENFIELD – The annual career fair hosted by a local nonprofit organization is increasing its efforts to support people seeking diverse career paths.

The fourth-annual College and Career Expo hosted by Leaders in Navigating Knowledge aims to provide more information about career options aside from college, including the military, police and firefighters, electricians and other careers. The event will be conducted 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 Apple St., where organizers said more space will allow them to cater to a large variety of further education options, not just college and university.

LINK works to provide support to young adults preparing for education beyond high school. The annual expo has served as the organization’s largest effort yearly, originally emphasizing college and university options for local high school students and older students. While that aspect of the event will remain, with representatives on site from nearly 50 local and regional post-secondary colleges and universities, there will be additional space dedicated to other career options, said executive director Brenda Wolski.

“We’ve always wanted to expand this event,” she said. “We know the importance of serving all our students and young adults who want to go back to school or start a different career. We really feel like there’s a need to connect people with other options, because college isn’t for everybody.”

The college fair portion of the event will be set up in the 4-H Exhibit Hall, while four workshops will take place in the adjacent barn. The workshops this year will educate visitors about local scholarships available; how to get the right career fit; how to write good admission essays; and college and university options for 21st Century Scholars, a scholarship program overseen by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The local scholarship workshop will be led by Katie Ottinger, education officer for the Hancock County Community Foundation, which administers about $250,000 in scholarships to county students every year.

She plans to speak about the process of applying for foundation scholarships as well as federal student aid. She aims to guide applicants in the right direction with application tips, which include highlighting positive accomplishments like community service or activities without embellishing or going into too much detail.

“Our selection committee members like to see applications from people who get to the point and are genuine,” Ottinger said.

Meanwhile, local Army recruiters will bring an interactive semitrailer for young adults interested in joining the armed forces, Wolski said.

Representatives from local EMS, fire departments, police departments and a local electricians’ union will also attend the event to talk up their careers, she said.

The event is free and open to the public. Fliers for the College and Career Expo are expected to be distributed to all juniors and seniors at public county high schools, Wolski said.

Organizers are pleased with the venue change, because it means more space for more career options as well as additional parking, said LINK board member Mary Gibble. Gibble, who also serves as the president of the Hancock County Community Foundation, said the expo is a great opportunity to support continued education and careers for the county’s young people.

“This is a great venue for anyone pursuing a post-secondary education, and we want to be there with bells on to help celebrate,” Gibble said.

Expo workshops

The fourth-annual Leaders in Navigating Knowledge Career and College Expo, slated for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 Apple St., Greenfield, will include four workshops aimed at helping young adults find their ideal careers.

Two workshops beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the sheep barn are:

  • Scholarships available to Hancock County students, hosted by Hancock County Community Foundation scholarship officer Katie Ottinger
  • Getting the right career fit and decision-making for the future, hosted by Brandon Bute associate director of Ball State University’s career center.

Beginning at 6:15 p.m. are:

  • Information for 21st Century Scholars, hosted by Ali Szymanski, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
  • How to write good admission essays, hosted by Amy Sosnowski of Strategic College Planning.

Each workshop will last half an hour. The event is free and open to the public.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or