While several American jobs require potential employees to have a bachelor’s degree or more, almost two-thirds of career opportunities can be obtained with minimal post-secondary education and training. It is that statistic that drove teachers and administrators at Melbourne High School to organize the school’s first career fair, one that focused exclusively on vocational-type employment. Principal Jim Carroll explains, “Communities need welders, electricians, cosmetologists, bankers, and EMTs. We must have more realtors, chefs, correctional officers, and business owners. The move from vocational training in the high schools has left many communities without someone to call upon when a refrigerator goes out or an emergency occurs. We want our workforce students to be as prepared as our college bound students, so we decided to provide them the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers, many of which do not require a college degree or extensive training.”
Over 40 volunteers from Batesville to Mountain Home as well as many local community members generously gave their time to Melbourne’s students, explaining the many aspects of their careers, demonstrating the tools of the trade, and fielding questions like, “What is a typical workday like?” or “What type of training is necessary?” They cleared their schedules, rearranged their obligations, and even came out of retirement to share their knowledge with the youth of today; in turn, students, who were encouraged to visit as many tables as possible, were eager to learn the ins and outs of careers like interior design, truck driving, aviation, land surveying, radio communications, and much, much more. Janet Yancey, high school counselor, was pleased with the event. “I couldn’t be more satisfied with how it turned out. We asked the kids to do a reflection after the event, and they were so excited about what they had learned from the professionals. I give all the credit to our career guests; their enthusiasm was infectious!”
While the event focused on giving Melbourne’s high school students the support and resources they need for future success, all who were involved were positively impacted by the spirit of teamwork and the shared desire to see young people content and financially stable as they enter adulthood. Melbourne High School would like to express its gratitude to all who were involved in the event, for their concern for future generations helped make Melbourne’s first career day a tremendous success.