Learning the trade
Over 300 students explored future career options during Careers in Construction Day at Isothermal Community College (ICC) on Thursday.
Buses from Chase, East, R-S Central and Polk County high schools arrived at 9 a.m. and the students spent the day visiting different stations and learning about everything from welding to mechanical design.
"We want them to give some consideration to these kinds of careers after high school. There are all kinds of different paths they can take," Nathan Fisher, welding instructor at ICC.
According to Mike Gavin, director of marketing and community relations at ICC, the college started hosting the event five years ago when it got involved with the National Center for Construction, Education and Research (NCCR).
"We started training people to get certifications that met NCCR standards. That is what Shaw, who was building the Duke Energy plant in Cliffside at the time, wanted," Gavin said. "They wanted us to help show a wide variety of construction-related careers."
The students toured 16 stations that each had different vendors with examples of careers.
"We want to show students what they would normally not see as their career choices in life. I started here doing classes like this as a students and now I work here," said Ida Buchanan, secretary in applied sciences and technology. "If they can get to be hands-on, it's better for them."
Fisher told the students that if they invest in themselves, they will never have trouble finding a job in the future.
"There's been a lot of talk over the last 15 years about job stability. If you put that stability in yourself, you don't have to worry," Fisher said. "I want to open their eyes up to what that means. Welding can be the first step into a career path that can open up to all kinds of things."