1,200 High School Students Attended Discover Your Path Career Expo
Holland, MI- On a day that is consumed with testing high school underclassmen, approximately 1,200 seniors from Ottawa Area ISD schools attended a Career Expo at DeVos Fieldhouse hosted by Lakeshore Advantage and Careerline Tech Center. The Career Expo featured over 70 business, education, and military exhibitors and 10 breakout sessions with topics on entrepreneurship, social media awareness, interviewing and resume writing, with a focus on post-high school career and education readiness, themed Discover Your Path.
“Exposing these students to an array of in-demand careers is a step toward overcoming area employers’ number one barrier to growth - access to talent,” said Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage. “Students from eight area high schools were able to experience the diversity in and multitude of career opportunities available locally. Employers were able to talk directly with the students about these opportunities. We are privileged to work alongside Ottawa ISD to make those connections happen.”
Last year, both OAISD and Lakeshore Advantage piloted Senior Expo concepts on smaller scales. Combining efforts, centralizing this event and bringing seniors to one Expo allowed for exhibitors to be in one place and extend their reach to more students. Thompson M-TEC in Holland awarded a $2,000 business course scholarship. Other sizable giveaways included Bose speakers and headphones from Royal Technologies, the event’s main sponsor.
"The Senior Expo was a great opportunity to get in front of students and talk to them about career opportunities available right here in West Michigan,” said Bakeer Muhammad, production manager for event sponsor Royal Technologies. “Whether students enter the workforce right after high school or pursue further education, there is a career for them here."
Students also attended breakout sessions designed to help them prepare for their futures, including Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, Social Media Implications and Adulting 101. A session titled “Your INFOmercial” was hosted by local entrepreneur Matt Baxter of WEDGE. Breakout session “Sweet Retreat” was led by Chef Cory Barrett of Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship, and 17-time Iron Chef America sous chef.
“I’m unsure of what I want to do for a career, so today is a great opportunity to explore that and make connections,” said Hamilton High School senior and expo attendee, Jessilyn Rockhold.
Students also pitched in to make this event a success. Fourteen public safety students worked event security. The logo for the Senior Expo was developed by a student. The QR scanning system to check students in, and for exhibitors to capture their information at the Expo was developed by students. And the informational website, www.lakeshoreseniorexpo.org, was built by a student.
Work-based Learning Supervisor for Careerline Tech Center, Shayna Carlson, shared, “This collaboration benefits both students and our community as a whole. Working together allowed more students to benefit from this experience and allowed for more exhibitors to be on hand as well.”
Seniors from Black River Public School, Hamilton High School, Holland Christian High School, Holland Public High School, Saugatuck High School, West Ottawa High School and Zeeland East and West High Schools attended the Expo.
About Lakeshore Advantage
Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit, local economic development organization started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to ensure current and future generations want to work and live in our vibrant economy. Lakeshore Advantage assists primary employers, from startups to large world-class corporations, in Allegan and Ottawa counties.
In 2018, Lakeshore Advantage supported 27 business growth projects, resulting in $235 million in private investment and more than 750 new jobs. More at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com.
About OAISD Careerline Tech Center
Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland. www.CareerlineTech.org