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Students Network at STEM Industry Council’s Career Fair and Learn About Future Employment and Internship Opportunities

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February 13, 2024 Ready to blaze a path of success upon graduation, high school students entered the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Central Office dressed in business professional attire.

With resumes in hand, students attending the STEM Industry Council’s (SInC) Career Fair were eager to network with local professionals from prestigious companies, including Worthington Enterprises, Worthington Steel, ESC of Central Ohio, Franklin County Engineering Office, HEAPY,student and professional shaking hands CCI Engineering Services, Ohio LTAP Center, and DriveOhio. 

To attend the career fair, students had to complete three online Career Readiness workshops successfully. The workshops prepared students with soft skills, how to handle themselves in a workplace, resume writing, and the impact of personal statements. Companies like DriveOhio encourage students to have these skills before they apply for an internship.

“We asked students to talk to each of the business partners and pass out their resumes because some have potential internship opportunities in the summer,” said Career-Technical Education (CTE) Resource Coordinator Christy Manson.

Manson has worked with the program for over ten years, and in that time, she has seen multiple successes come out of the networking opportunities provided to students. Last summer, Director of Workforce at DriveOhio Rich Granger hired Northland’s 2023 Valedictorian, Julianne Lukambo, for an internship. 

Lukambo and other high school students are bringing real value to the companies for which they intern, which is an excellent experience for them and the companies.

“We have always enjoyed the unique and insightful perspective that high school students bring to the work that we do,” Granger said. 

In Lukambo’s short time with DriveOhio, she left her mark on the company. The highlight of her internship was assisting with developing and launching DriveOhio's first ambassador program for high school volunteers. 

“Recently, we rolled out an educator toolkit for K-12 educators across the state that builds on a lot of the work she did,” Granger said. “She's featured in a few of our videos in our toolkit and was tremendously helpful. Now she’s off at the University of Dayton studying computer science, and we can't wait to see what she does next!”

Granger signed on as an employer for this year’s SInC Career Fair, hoping to find his next star intern. He has at least one high school internship position for the upcoming summer.

Elijauh Tillman, now a part-time student at Columbus State Community College, participated in the same program as Lukambo and earned an internship spot at a welding company while he was a student at Briggs.

Tillman believes he ended up learning life skills with the experience he gained at his welding internship, regardless of what industry he decides to enter.

“It developed me professionally and gave me the mindset that when I’m selling myself to somebody, the paper is only going to do so much,” Tillman said. “You could have a perfect resume, but it might not be enough.”

The Career Readiness program is supported by the SInC Advisory Board, which readies students to become the “full package,” on and off paper.

Business and community partners form the SInC Advisory Board and assist students in the CTE fields of information technology and engineering. Beyond taking online courses in the Career Readiness program, students meet with professionals and college students to prepare them for professional careers with mock interviews and networking skills. 

“We hope that the kids get the connection between what they learn in the classroom and how they can use it in the field,” Manson said. “When you participate in something like this, you never know who you will meet. That person could become your mentor or someone that could change your whole path in life.”

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