Local students learn about career opportunities at annual Career Expo

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer 

NORTH SHELBY – Local students had an opportunity to learn about multiple career options at this year’s Equip Career Expo.

The event was hosted by Equip on Thursday, Nov. 3 at Valleydale Church.

“We had our fourth annual Career Expo,” Executive Director of Equip Services Blake Huynh said, “and what we do for that event is we have different speakers from different career fields to expose students to different careers. So, what we ask them to talk about is requirements to get in, the day-to-day (and) what it’s like to work in that field. The kind of salary ranges or pay ranges that exist out there and kind of the pros and cons of the job.”

More than 500 students attended the event from surrounding schools, including students from Alabaster City Schools, Pelham City Schools, Hoover City Schools and Shelby County Schools.

The program featured a variety of speakers from different fields such as welding, manufacturing, education, cosmetology, graphic design, landscaping, tree service, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, law enforcement, fire departmental services.

“We want to tell them, if (they’re) going into welding, ‘Hey it’s a dirty job. It might be hot some days. It may be cold some days,” Huynh said, “and with that, you get paid really well, and overtime is great.’ If we switch gears to cosmetology, we had a beta here to talk about what it’s like to be in their program and what it’s like to go on to work in cosmetology or as an esthetician working in a spa and doing different treatments like that. I think that the exposure the students receive is great, because it opens up their knowledge and what they know about as (far as what) career fields exist.”

Cpl. John St. Pierre from the Alabaster Police Department attended the event and shared his law enforcement knowledge with the students.

“My role was to introduce the students to law enforcement forensic investigations,” St. Pierre said. “I showed them the tools and resources we crime scene investigators use to process scenes. The students were given exclusive hands-on access to these tools and had the opportunity to use them during my fingerprint demonstration. Students dusted for fingerprints and successfully lifted them from a vehicle based on my trained technique.”

The students also learned about a law enforcement career, from eligibility, to written and physical agility assessments and the different avenues they could explore later, such as detective, forensics and tactical response teams, St. Pierre said.

“The event was an excellent opportunity for our students to explore the many career options they’re eligible for straight out of high school,” St. Pierre said. “Every student was fully engaged and asked a lot of great questions. Some even took notes. I highly recommend other school systems to attend this event.

“I am thankful and honored to have been invited by Equip Services to speak to all these inspiring students. Based on my conversations with the students, the future of law enforcement employment is bright. The amount of enjoyment and excitement displayed by these students during the demonstration and hands-on portion of my presentation was deeply humbling.”

Equip also has a day program entitled “Thrive” in which they help individuals ages 18 and up with disabilities.

“Our goal is to continue teaching job skills, life skills and social skills to foster more independence and help to build the future of individuals with disabilities,” Huynh said.

More information on Equip can be found at Equipservices.org, and those with questions may send an email to Info@equipservices.org.