GREENFIELD — Seventeen-year-old Hayden Durick wants to pursue a career in law enforcement.

On Tuesday, the young man was among hundreds of Greenfield-Central High School students exploring potential job opportunities at a career fair in the high school’s gym.

“I hope to become a patrol officer so I thought I’d check these out,” said Hayden, who chatted with employees from both the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

“It’s pretty cool learning more about what they do,” he said.

With just less than two months left until graduation, high schools throughout Hancock County are helping juniors and seniors focus on their future by hosting career fairs highlighting a number of career paths.

Tuesday’s job fair at Greenfield-Central was open to students throughout the day and to the public in the afternoon.

Shyanne Durbin, a jail corrections officer with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, said career fairs are a great way to share information with students and others looking to pursue careers in certain fields.

“I think it’s a good starting point for this type of field. For law enforcement the jail’s a good place to start, especially at a young age. It’s a good way to get them thinking about it and to get their foot in the door,” she said.

Shelby Earley, supervisor of the clinical vet tech team at Labcorp in Greenfield, is also a frequent guest at high school career fairs.

In addition to being informative for students, Earley said the career fairs are effective recruiting tools for employers.

“We have seen students come right out of high school and get hired on and are pursuing their undergrad degrees with us. Most start as animal care technicians and are able to build their career from there,” she said, after chatting with students at Tuesday’s fair.

Sherry Golding, human resources manager with STAR Financial in Greenfield, spent the day telling students about the various types of job opportunities that exist at local banks.

“There are many more jobs behind the tellers you see when you go to a bank,” she said. “There’s also jobs in (information technology), marketing, finance and operations.”

Eighteen-year-old Jacob Hall was exploring his options between welding and auto mechanics at the career fair. He talked at length with Kathy Cameron, director of fixed operations with Ed Martin Automotive Group.

Cameron is no stranger to high school job fairs. She’s passionate about sharing potential job opportunities with young people, and educating them on the many types of positions it takes to make an auto dealership successful.

“We have a handout that shows all the career opportunities at car dealerships that most people don’t know exist behind salesmen and mechanics. There are 44-plus people who have to support those two job functions,” she said.

Cameron said it’s imperative to recruit quality candidates who can continue to fill those roles in the future.

“I go into schools and talk about the importance of all trades, whether that’s being an auto mechanic or plumber or ditch digger. They’re all trades, and that’s what we’re missing as a country, not enough people getting into trades. Everybody needs someone to fix their plumbing or fix their cars, but not enough are going into these trades. It’s an aging workforce, which is something we need to address,” she said.

Darren Turner, who leads the Jobs for America’s Graduates program at Greenfield-Central High School, said job fairs are an ideal way to expose students to a wide variety of potential careers.

More than 50 exhibitors signed up for Tuesday’s fair — areas of construction, education, food service, healthcare, maintenance, management, military, protective service, sales, transportation and more.

“We always hope that students and community members can find employment from the fair, but our true goal is for students to become more aware of what is available to them for their career. If this happens, we feel we were successful,” he said.

The same goals applied when Mt. Vernon High School held its own career fair last fall.

New Palestine High School will host its inaugural career fair April 11 at the Field House at 485 S. Victory Drive, where New Palestine students will attend from 8:05-11:05 a.m. and Eastern Hancock students will attend from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

“The purpose of the fair is to better equip 1,400 high school students with essential resources and connections for navigating their post-secondary opportunities,” said Craig Smith, communications director for the New Palestine Community Schools, in a press release.

“It aims to provide valuable insights into various career paths, trade options, and higher education opportunities for high school students. It will be an excellent opportunity for students to interact with professionals, explore diverse career options, and gather essential information for future academic and professional endeavors,” he said.

Vendors can take a tip from Cameron of Ed Martin Automotive, who made sure to set candy on her table to appease the teen job seekers stopping by her both Tuesday.

The basket of Payday candy bars sat by a sign that read: “Every day is payday at Ed Martin.”