Career speakers work with high school students
There are some messages local career professionals stressed to students during a Career Day-type event at Bellefonte Area High School – it’s never too late to try something new, get into a career that’s enjoyable and take advantage of learning foundational skills that help make individuals great employees.
“Football taught me to be respectful, it taught me to be responsible, it taught me to be accountable, it taught me to look someone in the eye when you’re talking and how to shake somebody’s hand – a lot of soft skills needed in the real world,” said Josh Hull, former professional football player and current business development coordinator at Glenn O. Hawbaker in State College.
Hull, a Penns Valley Area High School graduate who played football at Penn State and had a career in the NFL from 2010-14, was a guest of the high school on March 24 in an event that allowed students to meet with local professionals in careers they’re most interested in. The event was created to complement a key factor the school is anchored on, which includes providing resources for students to prepare for the next phase of their lives after graduation. That includes continuing with higher education, going into the workforce and/or enlisting in the military and more.
Some of the career fields highlighted were health sciences, engineering and architecture, business, human services, communication and more. Brit Milazzo, the district’s public relations director, was also on hand to answer questions about the possibility of serving in the military, while also having a civilian job. Milazzo is a reservist in the U.S. Navy who also works fulltime for Bellefonte Area School District.
For senior Domenic Nelson attended the session on information technology with district Director of Technology Eric Funk and Technology Support Supervisor Nate Olson. One of the most important questions he said he had was one to better understand the rigor of the program if unfamiliar with the inner workings of computers and technology. Funk and Olson were able to answer student questions, such as the one Nelson asked, in addition to talking one-on-one with students.
Principal Mike Fedisson said that the school’s Career Committee decided to use time with juniors and seniors to focus on career activities, while the week’s school schedule was altered due to MAP testing with freshmen and sophomore students. MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress.
“We are focusing on giving students more opportunities to explore and experience careers,” he said. “Over the last few days, juniors completed career exploration exercises in a program called Xello. Our guidance department uses this for activities such as interest inventories, career planning and exploration, college information and programs.”
Additionally, students required to follow Chapter 339: Career and Future Readiness Standards, finalized career artifacts, which are completed in fifth, eighth and 11th grades. These activities, Fedisson said, help to satisfy those requirements. And seniors who already met requirements for Chapter 339 were permitted to meet with speakers who were invited to discuss a variety of careers. A second similar event is planned for later in the school year.
“We think this is valuable in giving students the most information about careers before they finalize their post-high school plans,” Fedisson said. “In the future, we plan to offer more of these speaking opportunities to students at all grade levels. We are looking to have students sign up based on interest and perhaps have a career lunch session to meet and discuss.”
School administrators said they also want to bolster job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.