The Ottawa County Business Advisory Council hosted its 9th Annual Ottawa County Career Showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at a new location, the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. The event, which is designed to expose area high school juniors to job opportunities in the county, featured about 25 businesses representing dozens of careers.
About 450 students from all six Ottawa County school districts attended the event.
Prior to the event, the students engaged in the YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery program to gauge students’ interest and skills. The BAC utilized data from the program to connect students with corresponding businesses at Career Showcase.
“YouScience is a series of brain games that helps determine what they like and how they interact with people. It shows their aptitude and interest,” said Katherine Adams, Manager of Workforce and Career Exploration for the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation.
An important element of Career Showcase is helping students understand that there can be unexpected places to utilize their chosen career. Adams said an architecture major may not realize Magruder Hospital hires architects, or a finance major may not think to look to EMS services for employment, but EMS needs employees to manage budgets.
Some businesses, like LogistiQ in Port Clinton, offers a myriad of career options, including sales, engineering, warehouse assembly, IT, marketing and supply chain.
“It’s kind of cool. We get to do everything under one roof,” said LogistiQ Human Resources Specialist Morgan Terry. “We had a kid do a rotation this summer to spend time in each department. He wanted to be a business major, but he didn’t know specifically what he wanted to do.”
Each booth has hands-on activities to help students understand the businesses better. Northern Manufacturing brought a MIG welding simulator, Catawba Island Club gave students the opportunity to build an impeller, and Ottawa County Job & Family Services brought virtual reality gear that let students observe a childrens services investigation or practice a skilled trade.
“I learned how to change oil with the VR gear,” said Port Clinton High School junior, Piper Capodice. “At another booth, I learned about helping people with disabilities. That definitely inspired me to look into that.”
Port Clinton High School junior, Corrine Baker, walked into the Career Showcase already knowing what she wants to be, a general surgeon. The event was still highly useful to her.
“I went to the Magruder Hospital booth, and they said they offer the opportunity to observe a surgery. I didn’t know they do that,” she said.
Ottawa County Commissioners Mark Coppeler, Donald Douglas and Mark Stahl attended the event, as did Cathy Witte, Business Development and Manufacturing Specialist with CIFT, who presented a proclamation on behalf of Gov. Mike DeWine.
“It’s nice that the businesses are here because it’s tough on the businesses. Their workforce is here instead of on the job,” Coppeler said. “The businesses might find a future employee, and the students might see an opportunity they didn’t know existed.”