MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill-Matthews area mentoring program continues to attract interest among local businesses, educators, business owners, and individual citizens.
In an effort to move forward with this program we came up with few ideas, but we have created more questions than answer at this point in our infancy stage as it pertains to this project. Many of the questions are applicable based on feedback received from various sources and interested parties.
- What is the value of a high school-age student shadowing a professional nurse, engineer, or tradesman to examine a career path before college?
- How receptive are small businesses and entrepreneurs to having a young person visit or shadow their business? What are the benefits to the business?
- What kind of licensing, training, apprenticeships, certificates, professional designations, or college degrees are required to be considered a professional in the different career fields? What are the options available to pursue?
- What kind of income could an individual expect to earn while an apprentice or learning a trade or vocation?
- What about attending a camp or seminar in a subject matter that interests a particular student, such as aviation, computers, business and finance, electrician, environmental science, engineering, writing, mechanical, culinary arts, agriculture, law enforcement, fire science, etc.? Can this help an individual focus on academic and vocational skills that may lead to a career? How do we respond as a community to assist educators at our local high schools with this process? Also, within the business community and local government agencies?
- How about student organizations aimed at promoting career readiness? Skills USA, DECA, and the Future Business Leaders of America are just a few groups that might have student chapters. How and when should we reach out?
- Volunteering allows students to serve the community and bolster experience while gaining knowledge. Religious institutions, local nonprofits, and local government agencies use students and volunteers as interns. How do we best reach out to these groups for support?
- What role can a local Chamber of Commerce play in this mission working with the local businesses and members?
Career preparation should begin in high school, but it should not end at graduation. Most if not all occupations today require some type of training or education after high school. On-the-the-job training, apprenticeships, certificates, non-degree designations, and/or two-year degrees in technical and non-technical fields, are typically required for entry-level-jobs.
Therefore, the type of training an individual will need depends upon the career the person wants to pursue. The local high school might offer opportunities for obtaining career training or college credits prior to graduation. Also, after a student graduates, their training options expand even more as the real world awaits them. The closer an individual gets to entering the workforce, the more they will want to narrow their choices.
The key to any successful career is first the student must receive a solid education; it’s the building blocks, the foundation, for any career. Workers in many occupations use problem-solving, communication, research, and other skills they first learned in high school. By doing well in classes and taking part in career-training or college preparation programs, a student demonstrates they are ready to put these skills learned into action.
Finally, students should work with their school counselor who can help them plan a course schedule to make sure that they take the required classes that meet specific goals. For example, if a student wants to enter an electrician apprenticeship after graduation, the student may need a year of high school algebra, or a carpenter’s apprentice may need to take a course in geometry.
This series will continue next month through May of 2022. We will be evaluating selected careers and trades including the necessary requirements to be on a successful career path. It takes planning, hard work, motivation, commitment, and a desire to achieve your objective. “Start strong and remain determined,” encourages Commissioner Long.