Some 25 high school students received a bit of early career advice from the staff at Scotland County’s Division of Workforce Solutions this week.
A class of Scotland High School career management students taught by Donna Faulk visited the office on Thursday to general advice to pursue as much education as possible while being mindful of what industries are hiring.
“We have so many people that do not have the adequate skills and education, and that’s why they remain unemployed,” said Arlene Thorn, reemployment program specialist. “So when you’re looking for work, we want you to go into the health care industry, education, security, food service. Those are where we tend to find the bulk of the jobs.”
The class itself is designed to help students devise a plan for the remainder of their education and formulate a career path.
“The goal is for them, by the time they finish the class, to be prepared and thinking about researching colleges or careers that they’re interested in,” said Faulk. “It’s a very good class if they take advantage of it.”
Veterans’ representative Ben Thomas, himself an Army retiree introduced the idea of the military as a long-term career, with hundreds of potential occupations from which to choose.
One of the class’ seniors has already committed to military enlistment after graduation, with two other seniors accepted to King’s College in Charlotte with the intention of pursuing medical careers.
Students were also encouraged to commit some of their time to volunteer work, as connections made as teenagers may lead to later employment.
“I was part of the WIA program when I was in high school, and this was my first work experience,” said Betty Galloway, Division of Workforce Solutions manager. “I worked here for the summer answering the phones and making copies and things and never dreamed at that time that I would come back and actually be the manager of this office where I started.”
Galloway said that most young adults are well suited to the jobs becoming available now, as industries have become more technologically oriented. However, only a small percentage of those who utilize JobLink services are young adults, most of whom seek summer employment immediately following high school graduation.
Most jobs available for high school students under the age of 18 are in the retail and hospitality sectors, Galloway said. Experience working at Burger King have shown Scotland High junior Moesha Holt the value of a career-oriented education.
“It’s a good job if you’re a teenager and just need a little extra money for yourself - you learn how to deal with people,” Holt said. “But you know how crazy the economy is when they start taking that tax out of your check.”
She added that she plans to attend college after graduation, with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.
“I’ve done plenty of research on colleges and things, and since I don’t want to be in school forever, I found that to be a good job since you only have to be there for four to seven years and it’s a good salary.”