HINCKLEY- When you think of career fairs, employers talking to high schoolers or college students comes to mind.
But not this one.
Kennebec Valley Community College hosted an Outdoor Career Exploration for nearly 500 7th graders from a half dozen middle schools on Friday.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry teamed up with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates to organize the event.
The career fair featured more than 40 organizations and businesses.
Students had the chance to see up-close hands-on learning opportunities in fields such as logging, forestry, recreation, and agriculture.
They also go to meet stars from a DIY Network television show
“I think the importance of having it at a seventh-grade level, it gets kids thinking, they don’t know what they want to do, they have ideas. They see what their parents do, they what people in the community do. But this just gets it on their brain and maybe you know they’ll keep a better eye on it. It opens up their perspective, it doesn’t keep them so narrow-minded, yet they might change their mind. We all change our minds, but it gets the mind thinking,” said Ryan Eldridge of Maine Cabin Masters.
Jake Hall, a Department of Transportation worker, noticed the importance of the career fair.
“I think as young people they need to have an opportunity to see what’s available out there for job placement and have them thinking about where they’d like to be when they grow up. Which isn’t that many years away from these folks as seventh graders and see what they’d like to be able to be doing and at least start the ball rolling on their behalf.”
Ryan Sweeney of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates emphasized to the kids making connections now can help them out down the road.
“I try to coach the students that the interactions that they may have today could lead to that career opportunity 5-10 years down the road. And I think to come in with an open mind and feel like whether they have a real interest in one thing or another, something may pique their interest today,” Sweeney said.