The annual Career Discovery Day was held at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Tuesday. This experience for eighth-graders was designed to connect students with local professionals and showcase job opportunities in our area. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:03 AM
Eighth-graders from the five-parish area on Tuesday got a firsthand look at the jobs that will be in demand in Southwest Louisiana as they grow into adulthood.
Nearly 4,000 students attended the fourth annual Career Discovery Day at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The event introduced them to the skilled craft jobs that do not require a college degree but will be in high demand in the region throughout the next decade.
“There is already a certain amount of communication happening to encourage students to look at where the jobs are and look at where the money is,” said Nancy Tower, North American operations training and communications manager for Sasol, the event’s sponsor.
“Those are two key messages that have been missing in the past as we suggest that children pursue careers. They go into degree programs where there are no jobs in the area. They go into degree programs where they really don’t understand how does that income fit with what I expect my quality of life to be.”
Students visited booths manned by representatives from 36 careers, including firefighting, nursing and culinary arts. Representatives from industry-related jobs were also on hand to speak to students about jobs such as heavy-equipment operation, process technology, millwright work, drafting and carpentry.
Students had 20 minutes to speak with representatives and fill out a form that asked them questions about how much a career pays, its demand level, and whether it will help them live the lifestyle they want in adulthood. Students were asked to turn in their completed forms to their teacher when they were finished.
One of event’s representatives, Justin Hart, a millwright from Chicago Bridge and Iron, said the demand for millwrights is increasing, adding that it’s a great job for students to consider, especially those who like to work with their hands.
“For the kids who grow up liking to build things, being able to say this is what we do on a daily basis, we measure things down to something less than the thickness of hair, that’s a selling point for a lot of these kids who are interested in technical knowledge,” he said. “They learn that I can make a difference that could cost millions of dollars if I don’t do it right; it does draw a bit of an eyebrow raise.”
Bob Smith, the event’s chairman and former lab manager at Louisiana Pigment, said he wants students to discover that not all lucrative careers require a four-year degree. “This is a total career for them; this will last for their whole life,” he said. “If they don’t want to stay with that craft, they can always opt out and go to college later. But for the immediate term they can gain experience and maturity and gain a lot of money by getting into these crafts.”
Smith said 74 percent of all jobs do not require a four-year degree. He said students need to learn that you don’t need to be “a bookworm” to enter a career that pays well. “The pay for an accountant is not what the pay for a welder is,” he said. “A welder makes more money.”
Posted By: Glad I'm moving On: 1/16/2014
Title: Is this what 8th graders really need?
Am I the only one that sees the problem with this? Telling 8th graders gonig to college isn't a good idea is just going to keep Louisiana's high school students in the bottom five states educationally