I heard this phrase once, “You can’t be, what you can’t see…” and it has resonated with me ever since taking on the position as Career Coach with Madison City Schools. This is a phenomena that we have to work vigorously to continue to break down for all of our students. Generally speaking, students visualize their future careers aligned with careers that they see in their daily life. This falls on what they see in their families, their teachers, nurses, doctors, and then the terms that are used profusely such as lawyer, engineer, and business exemplifying that going into those careers you will have instant success. However, in actuality there are possibly over 30,000 job titles in our country alone.
A goal since taking on this position has been to expose our students to the plethora of different job positions that they have not previously learned about, along with breaking down these actual jobs in the popular fields of healthcare, business, and engineering worlds. One way to tackle this goal is coordinating career panels. This week we had three classes of seniors at Bob Jones High School talk in a question and answer, career panel format with leaders in our industry and education area of Huntsville and Madison City. We are so grateful that we had representatives from the entrepreneur and small business ownership side, construction and trades industry, health care, marketing, business and supply chain, engineering, workforce development, and large program managers. T
These volunteers are beneficial in allowing students to talk in a whole group and one on one setting about all the industries they represent, these members of our community imparted advice about their education track, their career path, and also what is needed in their workforce today. Many of the topics discussed ranged from the importance of face to face communication, behaving professionally, and also the importance of networking. That being said, we have even had two job offers for our high school students walking away from this panel!
It is our goal with these types of settings that students begin to visualize options and pathways after graduation. Along, with discussion on the importance of maintaining strong grades and reputations while completing their high school career. Our representatives discussed careers that students can enter right after high school and then progress in their education and career ladder, along with fields that require four year degrees or longer. The goal is that students begin to see that there is no one size fits all for success, we all come from different backgrounds that make us unique and we will all establish our career paths and future in many different ways as well.
We could not do activities like this for our students without the support of our amazing business and education community. Thank you Tiffany Jordan and Louis Whitlow with Driven Solutions, Toria Goodwin, Matt Tate, and Jeff Naefe with Raytheon, Frank Williams with Landers McLarty, Shantavia McCurdy with Tennessee Valley Authority, Michelle Nesin with Nesin Therapy, Fariba Tabarrok with AT&T, David Kyle with University of Alabama Huntsville, Tim Knox with Revolved Realty, Jonathan Fowler with Redstone Federal Credit Union, and John Roberts with Huntsville Madison County Builders Association.