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How Career Path Fair prepares students for the future
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Hundreds of 7th Graders gather Thursday, March 14, 2019, in the gymnasium at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus for the Career Path Fair. The event is a collaborative initiative between Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Vision 2030, UNG and Lanier Tech to help students become more informed in their career path decisions that direct their electives in high school. - photo by Scott Rogers

Not every seventh-grader knows the exact career path they want to take before entering high school, and not every seventh-grader will stay focused on their initial dream job.

With the help of Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and Vision 2030’s career path fair, middle schoolers catch a glimpse into the realm of careers available in their community.

Nearly 645 seventh-graders filtered into the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus on Thursday, March 14 to meet with an array of professionals who offered a first-hand look into their careers.

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Hundreds of 7th Graders gather Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus for the Career Path Fair. The event is a collaborative initiative between Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Vision 2030, UNG and Lanier Tech to help students become more informed in their career path decisions that direct their electives in high school. - photo by Scott Rogers

Elizabeth Higgins, director of Vision 2030, said the career path fair caters to seventh-graders in all of the public schools throughout Hall County. The event will be held again for an additional 645 seventh-graders at Lanier Technical College on Friday, April 12.

“We realized that the eighth-graders picked their career paths for all of high school,” Higgins said. “We thought, well, let’s do this and at least show them something different. I hope that they’re exposed to other things besides what’s in their normal lives.”

Ally Shedd, who attends Davis Middle School, said other than taking an online test in school that recommends a potential career, Thursday’s event was the first time she had heard of the job options available in Hall County.

“This is more effective than online because you’re actually getting to experience it hands-on,” Shedd said. “I hope that maybe I have some other career choices just in case something else doesn’t work out.”

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Hundreds of 7th Graders walk across the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus Thursday, March 14, 2019, during the Career Path Fair. The event is a collaborative initiative between Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Vision 2030, UNG and Lanier Tech to help students become more informed in their career path decisions that direct their electives in high school. - photo by Scott Rogers

From nonprofits and electrician companies, to media groups and cosmetology schools, the students were open to a full spread of potential opportunities.

Some of those that were featured at the event included Carroll Daniel Construction Co., Milton Martin Toyota, Lanier Islands, Kubota Manufacturing and Cochran Brothers Electric Co.

Lt. Louis Legier and Thomas Burce, who work at Hall County Fire Services, put into perspective their day-to-day roles. Legier said when someone’s heart stops in public, the staff doesn’t rush them to the hospital, but work on the scene to save a person’s life.

“Eighty-five percent of the calls we get are going to be EMS calls,” he said.

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Hall County Fire Services' Thomas Burce, right, and Lt. Louis Legier demonstrate how to stabilize an injured person Thursday, March 14, 2019, during the Career Path Fair at UNG Gainesville. It’s a collaborative initiative between Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Vision 2030, UNG and Lanier Tech. The fair will help students become more informed in their career path decisions that direct their electives in high school. - photo by Scott Rogers

Legier and Burce brought out a couple of pieces of equipment to demonstrate how to properly load someone onto a backboard, which is used for transferring an injured person into an ambulance.

Ethan Esquivel of Davis Middle said he wanted to also help people like Burce and Legier, but as a cardiovascular doctor. Through coming out to the career path fair, he said he aims to gain more information about other medical-related jobs, and feel more confident in his decision.

The event’s motivational speakers Debbie Phillips and Kiara Moseley added energy to the day, empowering students to strive to become “above average.”

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Davis Middle School 7th grader Brianna Bombardieri bends a piece of conduit Thursday, March 14, 2019, as Cochran Brothers electrician Jeff Thrash watches during a construction career session of the Career Path Fair at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus. - photo by Scott Rogers

“To be above average you’re going to have to step out of your box, you’re going to have to feel a little bit uncomfortable,” Moseley said. “Once you get out of your comfort zone and move into your fear zone, you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually accomplish.”

Phillips, who teaches career development at the Georgia Institute of Technology, encouraged the seventh-graders to not let anything interrupt their journey to success and to build the proper habits like giving a firm handshake, making eye contact and smiling when formally meeting someone.

“People will forget what you do and what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel,” she said.  

For more information about the upcoming career path fair, contact Shelley Davis from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce at 770-532-6206 or sdavis@ghcc.com.


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Dr. Debbie Phillips speaks to Thursday, March 14, 2019, to a gymnasium filled with 7th graders during the Career Path Fair at UNG Gainesville. It’s a collaborative initiative between Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Vision 2030, UNG and Lanier Tech. The fair will help students become more informed in their career path decisions that direct their electives in high school. - photo by Scott Rogers
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