Tipton Durant Middle School eight grade students Tiara Sears, left, and Kassidy Gunn, right, listen to Education Specialist Willietta Ellis Conner of the Alabama State Department of Education, middle, as she discusses career planning and college education Thursday at the Dallas County Career Technical Center's career fair. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)
Tipton Durant Middle School eight grade students Tiara Sears, left, and Kassidy Gunn, right, listen to Education Specialist Willietta Ellis Conner of the Alabama State Department of Education, middle, as she discusses career planning and college education Thursday at the Dallas County Career Technical Center's career fair. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

Fair helps students plan future

Published 10:17pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

Local students had the chance to witness the endless possibilities of future occupations during a recent career fair.

The Dallas County Career Technical Center hosted a career fair Thursday attended by students from Dallas County High School, Southside High School, Keith High School, Tipton Middle School and others. Representatives from junior colleges, universities, technical schools and various companies visited the center to showcase the numerous job opportunities awaiting students after graduating from high school.

“Whatever we can do on a local level to help our kids excel, that’s what we try to do,” Jerolene Williams, director of the Dallas County Career Technical center, said.

Students were exposed to jobs in welding, business education, family consumer science, nursing and much more.

Like many other Black Belt counties, the unemployment rate in the Dallas County area stands among the highest in Alabama.

Vickie Poe, the central office supervisor with the Dallas County School district, said it is essential students are fully prepared to fulfill the duties of the careers they will be applying for and build connections.

“Finding jobs in Dallas County has been hard, but we are trying to reach out to our community,” Poe said. ”Making the connections today is very important for our students.”

Tipton Durant Middle School eighth grader Alexus Tolbert, who attended the career fair, aspires to be a neurologist.

Tolbert said she was pleased to have a chance to further explore her future occupation.

“It lets you know what to expect, and it helps you get the education,” Tolbert said.

Education Specialist Willietta Ellis-Conner, of the Alabama State Department of Education, participated in the career fair and spoke with students about career planning and college education.

She told students it is never too soon to start planning for the future.

“It’s excellent for our students to get a head start on what they would like to do,” Ellis-Conner said. “Even though they’re in middle school now, they need to be thinking about career choices, what they are going to be doing and what it entails as far as preparing for life after high school.”

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