BGPS to hold first Industry Fair at BG High School

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BATTLE GROUND - Students and community members are invited to learn about careers in southwest Washington at Battle Ground Public Schools’ Industry Fair.

The first-ever industry fair to be put on by the Battle Ground School District is set for Thu., Feb. 25, 5-7 p.m., at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St., Battle Ground.

A variety of industries at the event, including health science, manufacturing, technology, construction, finance, hospitality, retail, human services and transportation. Participants will also have the chance to ask about the skills, abilities and educational requirements to work in various jobs, along with what the work environment is like and what kinds of tasks are performed in various job roles.

Representatives from more than 50 businesses will be available to answer questions. Attendees are encouraged to bring their resume and dress professionally as some of the companies that will be present have positions open now.

Cindy Arnold, the district’s director of career and technical education (CTE), said holding an industry fair has been something that’s been in the back of her mind during her past three years as CTE director. Kevin Doyle, a career guidance specialist who is currently doing an internship in the CTE program, has also been instrumental in planning the district’s industry fair.

“It’s a really good community event and it’s a good event for our students,” Arnold said. “When Kevin came on board to do an internship, we talked with him about it because he’s done college fairs, and we thought ‘how about we do an industry fair’?”

Arnold said CTE is very much connected to business and industry, and the CTE program actually has advisory partners who work with teachers in the district on curriculum and more.

Just a few of the businesses who will have representatives at the industry fair will include Wolf Industries, Riverview Community Bank, Glenwood Place Senior Living, The Home Depot, West Coast Training, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Panda Express, McDonald’s, Sodexo, Core Health & Fitness and numerous others.

“In CTE we have 16 ‘pathways,’” Doyle said. “We will pretty much have industries or businesses from 95 percent of the pathways.”

One of the main reasons Arnold said she wanted to hold an industry fair was so students could see what is available to them in their local area. She said she wants students to know what businesses are in Battle Ground and how they can be a part of those businesses.

Doyle said they have talked with several employers who will be at the industry fair who said they would love to look for people to hire during the event.

“Others (employers) said, ‘we just want to give out information,’” Doyle said. “We determined we would kind of leave it open for the employers. Some have said they might be hiring, but we’re not going to turn anyone away who wants to just give information. We want our students to know what’s out there, what positions are in your company, what does it take to do that position, what education is needed.”

Rita Sanders, communication specialist for the district, said some employers might have information on seasonal positions, and might be able to offer skills that might help students in the future.

“Employers have multiple kinds of jobs, not just ones that require college degrees,” Sanders said. “There are things like apprenticeships, jobs people can get as a high school graduate, jobs that will meet a variety of people’s needs.”

Another unique aspect about this industry fair event is that anyone and everyone is invited to attend to find out what jobs are out there. Doyle said they sent out information on the event to all the different school districts in the area and they have teachers from other districts who want to send their students. Doyle said Portland Community College is advertising for it, along with other schools in Clark and Cowlitz counties.

Prior to the industry fair event, there will also be a resume workshop, which will be overseen by WorkSource. Students or anyone who needs to work on their resume is encouraged to bring their resume in and utilize the opportunity. Arnold said they are also talking to teachers about encouraging their students to attend the fair and “meet and greet” employers, ask questions, shake hands with people, look them in the eye and ask them about jobs.

“These are all good skills for the kids to learn and have,” Arnold said. “It’s a great community event. Businesses, industries and schools should all be working together. It’s in Battle Ground High School, it’s in our city and it’s all of us working together.”

The industry fair is sponsored by Battle Ground Public Schools, WorkSource and YouthWorks. For additional information on this upcoming event, contact Kevin Doyle at (360) 885-6598 or via email at doyle.kevin@battlegroundps.org.

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