Published on Thu., March 28, 2024

Students signing papers at table during career fair

Event Helps High Schoolers Explore Post-graduate Pathways

Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) hosted a career fair for twelfth-grade students yesterday in partnership with Lynchburg Beacon of Hope and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. Representatives from more than 45 local businesses, universities, and military branches convened at E. C. Glass High School, helping students explore post-graduate options and jumpstart their careers with summer internship and employment opportunities.

"The purpose of our career fair is to provide high school students with valuable insights into various career paths, industries, and educational opportunities," said LCS Career and Technical Education (CTE) Supervisor Robbie Dooley.

In preparation for the event, E. C. Glass and Heritage high school students polished their resumes and practiced their networking skills. As they get ready to graduate, they’ve been working with LCS counselors and Lynchburg Beacon of Hope staff to plan for postsecondary success.

“Career fairs like this one connect students with real employers and real people in the community they grew up in. It encourages them to be active members in the community,” said Heritage High student Selah Erskine. 

Adult speaking to student at career fair
Two Beacon of Hope staff members with student smiling

This event was spearheaded by the LCS CTE Program, which prepares students for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers in industries like hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, medicine, and computer science. In conjunction with school counseling departments and Lynchburg Beacon of Hope, CTE helps students graduate with valuable experience in their field of choice.

“It’s important to have events for students to learn about how they can invest in their futures. I’m a first-generation college student, so I didn’t know where to start when I was in high school. Going to fairs like this one helped me learn what my options are and form ideas about what I wanted my college experience to look like,” said Longwood University alumni admissions counselor McKenzie Rigney, who represented the school at the career fair. 

The career fair also bridges the gap between students and employers, forming mutually beneficial partnerships. Employers at the career fair explained how investing in LCS students benefits local businesses and the community at large.

Two culinary arts students smiling at refreshment table
Two students smiling in front of career fair display

“We want to continue to grow, develop, and expand as a company, and investing in youth plays a big part in that,” said Framatome employee Jarrod Barksdale.

Students in alternative education programs had opportunities to connect with employers, as well. Project SEARCH, an LCS program that helps young adults with disabilities find meaningful employment in partnership with Centra Health, brought students to the career fair. 

“I find this career fair beneficial because it helps young adults find jobs in the community. I feel really blessed that this opportunity is available to me,” said program participant Larry Waters.

Some students are expected to secure internships, summer employment, or admission into college as a result of connections made at this career fair. Others may come back to work with these employers after graduating from college. But even students who don’t end up working with any of these companies will walk away with valuable experiences. 

“This career fair is a good chance for students to give out their resumes, get comfortable speaking with potential employers, learn about the businesses here, and learn about opportunities they didn’t know were available. Even if you have a ‘dream job’ in mind already, there may be amazing opportunities out there you haven’t heard of before,” said lead Project SEARCH instructor Amanda Myers-Ramirez.

Group of students and staff from Project Search program

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