By Patricia Beech –
A dozen mentors from area businesses and trade unions joined staff members from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to offer professional advise and encouragement to more than 100 ninth and tenth grade students at Manchester High School on Wednesday, May 23.
According to MHS District Superintendent Brian Rau, planning for the event began months ago.
“We had a meeting in the fall with Leigh Brown from Senator Brown’s office, they’d heard about the plant closures and were wondering what they could do to assist us,” Rau said. “I heard back from her several weeks later and she said I have an idea for you guys, and I said, ‘I’m all ears, I’m interested’.”
Students met with participating mentors to learn about future career opportunities in various fields ranging from manufacturing to agriculture to law enforcement and the building trades.
“By connecting students with local employers, we can help jump start career opportunities for these young people early on,” said Brown. “These discussions help students learn about the options available to them and consider new possibilities as they begin to think about their futures.”
MHS Freshman Kati Mefford called the mentoring session a “very positive event”.
While she has already chosen her career path – she hopes to be a nuclear radiologist – she says she and her friends were surprised by what they learned during the mentoring sessions.
“Even though I know what I want to do with my life, it was still a good experience to go around and see what other people have chosen to do for a living,” she said. “We were all surprised by the jobs that are out there that we didn’t know about.”
Meeting with the students were representatives from the Adams County Rural Water District, Amerigas Propane, Five Points Implement Company, General Electric Aviation, Greater Cincinnati Building Trades and Local Council, Green Acres Foundation, Heat and Frost Insulators, IBEW, International Paper, Laborers Local 265, Ohio Valley Career Technical Center, and Plasters and Cement Masons Local 132, and the office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
According to Superintendent Rau, the school and Senator Brown’s office worked together to choose what type of employers would participate in the event.
“We wanted to have all different types of individuals from all labor unions and the professional world to answer our students’ questions,” Rau added during a brief break in the three-hour-long event, “It isn’t very often that kids get to experience jobs like those represented here today. These mentoring sessions are giving them the opportunity to learn about different jobs, how to get into a field, and what level of education is required to do so.”
“The goal is that the kids will take something away from this, and that after talking to these individuals, will decide they’re interested. Maybe it’s not what they want to do, but at least, they’re interested. If we can foster that interest, then for us it’s all worth it.