On Tuesday (March 5th) over 700 middle and high school students will visit the Dallas campus of Gaston College for the Gaston County Advanced Manufacturing Career Expo. Area manufacturing companies will present the students with information about local career opportunities available to them right after high school.
The expo will take place in the Myers Center and the Robinson Classroom Building on the Gaston College campus and at the adjacent Gaston College Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM). Students attending will be from 21 participating middle and high schools from around Gaston County. Middle school students will attend the expo from 9:15 - 11:15, and the high schoolers will be there from noon to 2 PM.
In groups, the students will visit with five businesses and see a brief video presentation about the Career Expo and the businesses they are visiting. Representatives from each business will share information about their companies, the products they manufacture, employment opportunities, and what they look for in candidates for employment. Every student will receive a packet that includes information about all of the manufacturing companies participating in the Career Expo.
Among the participating companies are American & Efird/Elevate Textiles, Beverly Knits, Daimler Trucks NA, Dhollandia, Dixon Quick Coupling, Georgia Pacific, GSM Services, LanXess Corporation and LanXess US Solutions, Mann+Hummel, Pharr Yarns, R-Anell Homes, and Rochling. Apprentices from LanXess Corporation will be on hand to share their experiences with the Gaston College Apprenticeship 321 program, through which they can attend Gaston College at no cost while working and learning a trade at LanXess. Other participating companies are also part of the Apprenticeship 321 program.
The event is co-sponsored by the partners in WSAT, the Workforce Solutions Action Team consisting of Gaston County Schools, Gaston College, Gaston Regional Chamber, Gaston County Economic Development Commission, Gaston County Workforce Development Board, Career Climb, NCWorks Career Center, and a number of local businesses in Gaston County.
“Gaston County and, more specifically, the Gaston County Economic Development Commission’s (EDC) role is as an active partner in workforce development,” said Malissa Gordon, Existing Industry Manager at the EDC. “We are a proactive leader in the transformation of the current economic environment in Gaston County, and we partner with our agencies and institutions throughout the county to offer opportunities for our citizens. Our role within the county is to attract and retain desirable businesses and employers to continue improving and diversifying economic opportunities in Gaston County. We are grateful for the continued support of the Career Expo, and other events like it, from our sponsors and workforce partnerships. These events give students, who are our future workers, insight into advanced manufacturing careers available right here in the county.”
Steve D’Avria, President and CEO of the Gaston Regional Chamber, is enthusiastic about the continued collaboration among local businesses, Gaston College, Gaston County Schools and their interaction with the county’s students and future workforce. “The Career Expo gives our chamber members the opportunity to be proactive in engaging with the students, who are their potential employees,” he said. “The manufacturers will be introducing themselves, telling the students what they do, and how the students can meet the companies’ needs. Despite growing up in West Virginia, close to companies like DuPont and General Electric, I was not made aware of opportunities that may have been available there. This event will let students see the potential for a promising future right in their home town—and, for some of them, that future could begin as early as this summer.”
For Gaston College, the Advanced Manufacturing Career Expo offers an excellent platform to tell middle and high school students about the educational paths that are available to them through the College. In addition to co-sponsoring and hosting the event, Gaston College will share information about its academic offerings and about its Apprenticeship 321 program, through which students receive job-specific training and a cost-free education from Gaston College while earning a salary from local employers who are partners in the apprenticeship program.
Through the Career Expo, Gaston County Schools will introduce students to the options available to them after high school graduation. “The Gaston County Advanced Manufacturing Career Expo is important,” said Brett Buchanan, CTE (Career and Technical Education) Director for Gaston County Schools, “because it enables students to learn about the breadth of opportunities that are available in the Gaston County community. The expo lets them see where in the workplace they can use the skills they are building through their education, and it presents them with career prospects that are waiting for them when they graduate.”
Buchanan, the liaison between Gaston County Schools and the companies participating in the Career Expo, believes the event is very valuable to those companies, too. “Participation in the expo is a long-term investment for these businesses,” he said. “The students that the schools bring to the expo may be the future employees who will be starting their careers when they finish school.”
For more information about the event, contact Brett Buchanan at 704-861-2496.
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