Eastern Wake: Opinion

Editorial: Starting the career hunt early

They may seem like throwaway activities, but career fairs in schools are an important way of opening the minds of children to the possibilities that await them as adults.

Career fairs have become somewhat common fare among area high schools. After all, for some, high school will be the end of their formal education and their entry into the world of work may be just a few months or years away.

These days, the introduction to work and careers is starting even earlier. That’s a good thing. The nature of work is changing dramatically in today’s world. There are jobs and careers that literally just didn’t exist just a few short years ago.

And, as the demand for an educated, skilled workforce grows stronger, it’s important that young people are exposed to the different kinds of work they can avail themselves of.

Learning about the demands and skills required of certain jobs can certainly give students an idea of what kinds of courses they should take in high school and they can even begin to look for entry-level work in those fields as part-timers working after school.

The businesses that make themselves available for career fairs at local schools are also doing themselves a service. As the depth and breadth of job opportunities continues to grow, the competition for good employees will only increase. That will make it an even tougher challenge to find workers who can meet the company’s standards. Planting a seed in a child’s mind about the possibility of working for their company one day could ultimately bear fruit.

As career development counselors in our local schools plan their career fairs, they cast nets far and wide looking for employers willing to give up half a day – or even less – to help teach our young people. We suspect if you ask representatives of companies who have participated in the past, they would tell you it was time well spent. It could be time well spent for your business too. Be sure to reach out to your local schools and let them know you’d be interested in participating in the next career fair they hold.

As schools are looked to more and more to educate our children in more areas than just the three Rs, the work career counselors are doing is invaluable. It is, sadly, too often overlooked in all the hype over test scores, graduation rates and other metrics.

But teaching young people about the opportunties that await them after graduation is a growing opportunity to give our young people a head start on life.