Getting the jump on a local job
Published 10:07 pm Thursday, November 14, 2013
Northrop Grumman and The J.M. Smucker Company were additions this year at a Suffolk Public Schools event informing high school students about job options locally.
A total of seven partners provided sessions for students during the sixth annual Career and Technical Education Professional Student Conference, at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn Thursday.
Others included the Virginia Education Career Foundation, Everest College, ACE Hardware, Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, and Sentara Obici Hospital.
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About 150 ninth-graders circulated through the conference, said Gail Bess, the school district’s career and technical education coordinator.
“It’s an opportunity for students to learn about their Suffolk business community, because the city is growing,” she said.
Keynote speaker Kevin Hughes, Suffolk’s director of economic development, gave an overview of businesses and industries in the city, also explaining the “soft skills and hard skills” they will need to be successful in local workplaces, Bess said. Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Deran Whitney greeted the kids.
Students selected two “break-out” sessions to attend from a list of seven, Bess said, adding, “The companies talked about who they are, what they do and how they (students) need to prepare themselves to be potential employees.”
During and after lunch, students experienced eight simulators, providing yet more insight into what they might be doing for a living if they pursue employment locally, Bess said.
For example, The Pruden Center provided an excavation simulator, and Sentara Obici Hospital brought SimMan.
The patient simulator is used for “scenario-based simulation, to teach our staff, whether experienced nurses or new nurses,” said Phyllis Lilly, a staff development educator at the hospital.
“We use real scenarios, things such as for code-blue practice, heart failure, pneumonia and sepsis. We recreate scenarios that the nurses could practice with as if it’s a real situation.”
After attending the hospital’s breakout session, Nansemond River High student Charnise Knight said a pediatrician was her second preferred career after photography.
“I want to be a photographer, so I want to go to Full Sail University or James Madison University,” she said.
Conference chair Ninochaka Harris, a member of event organizer the Career and Technical Advisory Council, said it was also an opportunity for the business community to connect with potential future workers.
“Students are able to understand more about careers and jobs,” she said. “It’s just a catalyst for the students to be able to start their research and start thinking seriously about the things they want to do.”