High school students learn about classes at Career Center
The Washington County Career Center hosted a free manufacturing and industrial careers field day on Friday.
Many local industry and manufacturing employers like DuPont, Morrison Inc. and Novolex attended the fair, and they discussed what skills were needed to be employed in their field.
About 200 students were bussed to the event from Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute, Belpre, Waterford, Shenandoah and Meadowbrook high schools.
During the event, there was a raffle for a $500 scholarship. There were also scholarships for being a local high school student, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
Students were able to tour through the HVAC, welding, chemical operator, instrumentation and electricity, industrial maintenance, commercial construction and CDL training areas. Representatives from the career center held meet-and-greets with the students and hands-on segments in the classrooms.
During a CDL truck driver walkthrough, students listened to career center instructor Brian Wise discuss the ins-and-outs of truck driving as well as the program schedule which can be broken up in two ways, a four-week program during the week or an eight-week program during the weekends.
“If you guys are struggling and want to learn, I don’t care to stay over,” Wise said. “We plant the seed, it’s up to you to make it grow.”
While a group of Belpre and Waterford students watched, Belpre student Casey Rose climbed into the driver’s seat of the truck and was taught how to uncouple the truck from the trailer. This was the first time he had driven anything.
“It was terrifying,” Rose said. “I’m very thankful I got to get behind the wheel of the truck. I’m thinking about going into computer sciences, but now maybe CDL.”
Sam Brookover, HVAC instructor at WCCC, and David Haas, president of Morrison Inc., talked to students about the demand for HVAC workers.
In a slideshow, Brookover said the wages in their field can reach up to $100,000 a year plus benefits, and HVAC’s unemployment rate is nearly zero.
“We are looking for kids that are mechanically inclined, looking to learn, and embrace technology,” Haas said. “We are seeing a reversal of people coming back to the trades. We’ve gotta have people that can fix things. Our challenge is to attract the right kids.”
After leaving a presentation led by the Communications Construction Group where students were told about how they could join carpenters unions in the area, they went next door to have hands-on practice assembling and dis-assembling doors and framework.
Meadowbrook students Hunter Eubanks and Josh Hupp took turns unscrewing a door before putting it back together again.
“I think that I will go into welding or construction,” Eubanks said. “I didn’t know a lot about construction and they showed us what we would be doing.”
Hupp wants to go into electrical engineering at WCCC so he can one day build his own house. At the moment, he works at his mother’s bakery called Pure Love Bakery.
Chuck Warner, continuous improvement manager at Novolex, said they are looking for multi-craftsmen who can work on newer and older machines.
“They need to get up, show up, and add value,” Warner said. “Some of the people that came in here, I could tell by their shoes that they were workers.”
The career fair was sponsored by the Appalachian Ohio Manufacturing Coalition. The AOMC bussed high school students to the event and paid for the food at the event.
In two weeks, the career center will hold another career fair focusing on its five medical programs.
Kyle Nichols may be reached at