INDIANTOWN – Martin County School District (MCSD) announced Monday, Nov.29 they are partnering with the Councils of Chambers for the first "Explore my Future" event. The event will allow eighth grade students to explore career opportunities offered by local businesses and organizations. In addition, officials hope the event will give students guidance toward a "career-related education pathway."
The five separate events will pair a middle school with a Chamber of Commerce. The events are slated to have a "job fair" flavor. Businesses/organizations will set up displays or booths with age-appropriate gift bags, handouts and information about their career opportunities to present to students as they "explore" the looks of the future. The tentative timeframe is three-hours; however, some schools may have three sessions because of larger student populations. The students will also interact with Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs the schools offer.
Missy Wilhoit, the event coordinator for Indiantown's Chamber, said she felt this would give incoming freshmen a great opportunity to "learn what different options are available." In addition, she continued, they could learn trades and other quality skills that "may not lead to college in the traditional sense," but would lead to career readiness at graduation.
Wilhoit added that each of the five Chambers of Commerce would cover the school in their area of the county. The Council of Chambers includes the following: Indiantown, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach and Stuart/Martin County Chambers of Commerce. Due to the event design, the businesses attending the expo may or may not be Indiantown businesses. However, Wilhoit assured the Indiantown Independent she would cover Indiantown Middle School at South Fork High School Jan. 27 2022. The other four locations are listed here on the interest application form.
Missi Campbell, executive director of the Palm City Chamber and the event originator, is a retired teacher with 34 years of service. She underscored that the educational system had been "missing the boat" regarding helping children "at the right time" on career choices. She indicated that it's often thought guidance counselors give input on career choices. However, according to Campbell, the guidance office isn't giving much guidance these days on careers because they are "too overwhelmed" with other issues. The director said she felt the eighth grade was an appropriate time to introduce students to opportunities concerning their future and was hopeful of this event's success.
"The main goal is to have our students graduate high school with the information they need to create their career path," said Campbell. The director denoted that the event would benefit with "the necessary next steps" as students reached the time for internships, career shadowing, or employment.
Campbell added that 17 career clusters were available and if a cluster didn't receive representation, then requests would be made of chamber members to provide representation. The clusters are Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Architecture & Construction, Arts, A/V Technology & Communications, Business Management & Administration, Education & Training, Finance, Government & Public Administration, Health Science, Hospitality & Tourism, Human Services, Information Technology, Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security, Manufacturing, Marketing, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics. She said trade schools weren't available in Martin County but that several nonprofits offered trade opportunity training programs.
There is no charge for participating. While businesses/organizations are invited to select multiple locations if they are interested in participating, filling out the application does not guarantee a spot at the expo due to capacity limitations. The form will close Dec. 10. To sign up, follow this link https://forms.gle/YRXeJ98fRDYnFZd67.