SCHS students talk careers, soft skills at roundtable event

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Students at Shelby County High School had the chance to listen to local industry leaders, business owners and education representatives talk about their experiences in the workforce during an Education Connections Roundtable event on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Nearly 15 students in different career tech organizations rotated through table discussions including partnerships, career opportunities, career development and employability.

“These are the leaders of our organizations coming through today,” Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Alana Ray said of the students, who represented the school’s FFA, FCCLA and FBLA groups. “Most students are juniors and seniors, but we do have some freshmen. It really does help get their mind focused on a career path.”

Sample questions for the discussion topics related to what students can do now to prepare for a career that interests them, what opportunities are available at specific businesses, what experiences businesses are looking for in job candidates, to name a few.

Industry leaders shared advice with students, such as “be yourself” and “make a good first impression.”

“Teachers tell students these things,” Career and Technical Education Supervisor Julie Godfrey said, “But it’s always great when they hear it from somebody else because that’s when the lightbulb goes off.”

Juniors Jalyn Jones and Alyssa Gardner said the roundtable was helpful to them as they plan to pursue careers in nursing.

“I learned a lot about how important it is to job shadow,” Gardner said.

Shelby County Schools Career Technical Education presents the program in partnership with The Shelby County Chamber to facilitate face-to-face conversations between students and business representatives in different career clusters.