On Wednesday, October 10, the entire student body at Ames High participated in a full day career fair. This year’s event came on the heels of one held last academic school year in February 2018. Prior to that, it had been nearly 15 years since Ames High hosted a career fair.
This year’s event expanded on the efforts from last year, which only served the freshman class. The organizational team led by Ames High Business Teacher Vicki Hales, quickly realized that all students at Ames High would benefit from career exposure. “There are more and more students leaving Ames High without having a clear idea of what they want to do. Getting them more exposure to potential career opportunities that they can further explore is valuable as we better prepare them for what lies ahead.” Recent Iowa legislation also emphasizes the importance of providing all students with ongoing and meaningful experiences to explore career options and help them navigate these choices for their future.
The all day event saw businesses from across Ames volunteering their time to make the career fair a huge success. Over 50 booths were set up in the gymnasium for students to ask questions and get information from a variety of industries. Beyond that, students filled their schedules by signing up for breakout sessions throughout the day based on their interests. Some of the over 150 breakout sessions included topics such as digital marketing and communications, careers in the financial industry, coaching and program management, hospitality and tourism, fine jewelry creation, government and public administration, insurance, and public safety. Additional skill and labor businesses included those in agriculture, manufacturing, and electrical, among many others.
Many sophomores visited DMACC campus in Ames to explore additional career paths in culinary arts, automotive technology, building trades, visual communications, health occupations, criminal justice, and the teacher academy.
Throughout the day, Adam Carroll offered a keynote seminar to all classes on financial literacy. Carroll speaks across the country and has presented at over 500 colleges and universities, as well as at TEDx, is an author of several books, produced a documentary film, and has written curriculum specific for high school students on the subject.
Overall, the second annual career fair was an overwhelming success. As Vonda Junck, Teacher on Special Assignment for Career & Technical Education, summarized it, “Many of today’s jobs didn’t even exist 10 years ago: social media strategist, user experience specialist, sustainability manager, telework manager,” making this type of event especially important to expose students to what is available to them.