Looking ahead to the future

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

Career conference: 145 freshmen in Suffolk Public Schools attended a conference where they heard from industry leaders about different careers and what employers are looking for in employees.

High school students attend career conference at Hilton

High school freshmen had the opportunity to take a look into a crystal ball of possibilities on Thursday morning.

The Career and Technical Education Advisory Council for Suffolk Public Schools held its third annual Professional Student Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday.

“We want students starting out in high school to understand what the end result of their education is and give them incentive to continue,” said Gail Bess, coordinator. “We want to familiarize them with jobs within the city, help them have a focus and a connection with why they’re in classes, and prepare them with the knowledge they need now to be successful employees in the future.”

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The conference aimed to introduce students to the Suffolk business community, enhance their knowledge of expectations in the workplace and provide an opportunity for students to identify a career focus early in their education.

Bess said the conference can provide students with direction when it comes time to sign up for classes. Approximately 145 freshmen attended the conference.

They had the opportunity to sit in presentations from Kevin Hughes, director of economic development, who talked about the job market in Suffolk, and Beno Rubin, associate professor of automotive technology at Tidewater Community College, who discussed “green” technology in the automotive industry.

Students were also able to choose between presentations by Paul D. Camp Community College administrators or Virginia Career Education Foundation representatives. Both shared information about career literacy, including expectations in the workplace and how to network to reach their career goals.

Sessions were also offered by presenters from Dominion Power, Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Virginia Home Performance, Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk and Conference Center, Target Import Center and the Tidewater Builders Association.

“Most students know about Lipton and Planters, but we wanted to give them background on what else is available in the community and expose them to its diversity,” Bess said. “They discussed who they are, what they do and what they look for in employees.”

“I learned Suffolk has really grown in businesses and there’s a lot of different companies in Suffolk,” said Christian Sanderlin, a freshman at Nansemond River High School. “I don’t have to go away to get a good job.”