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Grafton students hit the road to explore careers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 16:15

Chamber field trip gives high-schoolers an inside look at job possibilities

    Grafton High School students got the chance to take a break from their classroom studies so they could experience life in the workforce last Friday.
    The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce organized a career exploration field trip, which runs every other year to coincide with a career expo at the high school, in an effort to encourage students to start researching their career paths before college, according to its director Pam King.
    “We had seen some of the issues related to the skills gap, because kids didn’t know what careers looked like,” King said. “We worked with our manufacturers alliance and we got a grant to have a field trip to take the kids out into the world of work.”
    During the outing, approximately 700 students got to shadow various local organizations, which included General Metalworks Corp., Controlled Dynamics, Pace Industries, Gauthier Biomedical, Digital Edge of Grafton, Hampton Inn and Suites, Roden Echo Valley Farm, Meijer, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Grafton Fire Department.
    King noted the types of businesses involved with the event have expanded from primarily manufacturers during the first year to other industries, so students can explore various career avenues.
    “We really tried to match kids with what they think they’re interested in, but also something even bigger than that by helping them understand what the world of work looks like,” she said. “During the first year, every student went to a manufacturer but now we sort of fine tuned it for our fifth time out. While students still do go to manufacturers, that’s by their choice.”
    According to King, the students provided the Chamber of Commerce with their top three choices for a career so they could be matched accordingly to industries they visited. King noted many of the students were interested in business, technology and medicine.
    “A lot of the students have a good idea about what they want to pursue. But if they don’t know what they want to do for a career, the field trip is a really beneficial time for them to start exploring,” she said.
    “We encouraged all the speakers at the sites to tell their career story by explaining to the students how they got involved with the job they’re in? What was their path to get where they are today? What high school and college classes would they suggest to take? What are some technical school options they recommend?”
    Two busloads of about 80 students visited Gauthier Biomedical in Grafton, which manufactures orthopedic and spinal instruments.
    “The students asked some really good questions and they were fascinated by the different surgical instruments that we manufacture,” Brenda Peiffer, the company’s human resources manager, said. “Our company enjoys being involved in the community where we work, and we want to help our local schools because down the road the students could be future job applicants.”
    Peiffer said she told the students it is difficult to find qualified candidates to work in the manufacturing industry because there are not many professional programs tailored toward that type of career.
    “Not every position at Gauthier Biomedical requires a four-year degree, and we want to support the manufacturing opportunities that are out there for students,” she said. “The technical classes have been historically falling to the wayside at schools and we want to support those types of classes to help them get back into the curriculum.”
    Students broke into three separate groups and toured the facilities with the company’s production manager and engineers, who also explained what types of qualities they look for in an employee.
    “The students were able to tour most of our facility, from the machines to the molding and polishing areas, where they learned the importance of quality and accuracy,” Peiffer said. “We also tried to help the kids realize it’s not only their intellectual ability but their work ethic and attitude that will help them to get hired and maintain a job. We really wanted to encourage those kinds of habits as well.”  

 
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