Students to explore career opportunities


HANCOCK COUNTY — For students entering high school, the pressures of mapping out the four years ahead of them — as well as those that follow — can be an overwhelming process.

To help students navigate those decisions and understand the breadth of career options available to them in the real world, the Hancock County Career Success Coalition has organized a day for local high school students to meet with representatives from a wide array of local businesses, ask questions and tour their facilities.

On Oct. 28, freshmen from Greenfield-Central High School and New Palestine High School will load up on buses and tour a variety of local facilities during a career exploration day. Retta Livengood, president of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Career Success Coalition, said her hope for the event is to give students a sense of all the job fields that are out there — and perhaps start some conversations about internships and other career-building opportunities.

“Depending on what some of these students’ life experiences have been, some of them may have not even considered a career in manufacturing, health care or another industry,” she said. “We’re very visual people these days, so giving students a chance to walk around some business and see what goes on, that’s a great opportunity.”

Stanley Black & Decker, Keihin and Executive Management Services are a few of the business that have volunteered to host the students, Livengood said, but she’s still looking for other businesses to join the roster.

Harold Olin, superintendent of the Greenfield-Central School Corp., said some freshmen might not have a complete understanding of available career fields, and he hopes the day will help them expand their horizons.

“Many of them think about becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and many of them have a pretty good understanding of what needs to be done to get there,” Olin said. “But there are thousands of other jobs out there, and it’s difficult for some students to know what’s out there without seeing it for themselves.”

After the event, Olin said he hopes students might have a sense of the steps they need to take to qualify for those jobs, whether it be a two- or four-year degree or an apprenticeship.

Danielle Daugherty, executive director of Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, a local nonprofit devoted to helping community members map out a career plan, said she hopes the visits will give students a head start on their plans.

“It’s never too early to start thinking about your career,” said Daugherty, who’s also a member of the Career Success Coalition. “And when you’re in high school, you still have a lot of freedom to shape your curriculum for the career you want.”

Although many of the students may be too young to be immediately eligible for a job with a company, it’s never too early to start networking and making professional connections, Livengood said.

“If they’re intrigued by one of the businesses they tour, who’s to say that couldn’t turn into an internship or summer job?” Livengood said.

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Businesses open to having students tour their facilities during a career exploration day Oct. 28 are still being sought. Interested? Contact the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 317-477-4188.