Students learn about job opportunities in Noble County

March 20th, 2013

News Coverage:

Students learn about job opportunities in Noble County

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 10:12 am, Wed Mar 20, 2013.

By Dennis Nartker

KENDALLVILLE — “This is your day,” Noble County Economic Development Corp. board president Bob Marshall told about 700 Noble County high school juniors and seniors assembled in the East Noble High School gymnasium Tuesday morning.

Marshall welcomed the East Noble, Central Noble and West Noble students to the first Noble County Economic Summit.

“There are job opportunities in Noble County, and we have 40 to 50 representatives from businesses in Noble County to share these opportunities with you. You don’t have to travel far to find these opportunities,” he said.

The Summit was organized by the economic development agency in cooperation with the county’s three school districts to showcase Noble County businesses, industries and professional groups to juniors and seniors. Many of the students are considering jobs and careers outside Noble County, and organizers want them to know there are plenty of job openings and career opportunities closer to home.

“They may not be aware of careers and job opportunities in Noble County. This is a way to open communication lines between the businesses and the students,” said Rick Sherck, Noble County Economic Development Corp. executive director.

Organizers arranged for East Noble freshmen and sophomores to visit area colleges and universities for three hours, accompanied by teachers, while classrooms were set aside for 26 “breakout sessions.” In the sessions, specialists and career representatives presented hands-on activities to give Summit participants glimpses of their careers and professions.

Financial consultants, entrepreneurs, actuaries, police officers, first responders, nurses, engineers, website designers, veterinarians, photographers and manufacturer representatives were among those who talked with students in small groups about the benefits and drawbacks of their careers.

Each student could select three 40-minute breakout sessions. In his session, John Wicker, president and owner of B & J Specialties and Wick-Fab Steel Fabricators, used Play-Doh and cookie cutters to show students how his companies make specialized tools for molds.

“We have jobs, but we can’t fill them,” Wicker said. When he asked his group why, one student responded: “People don’t have the drive anymore.”

Andrea Bolinger with Work One, an agency that helps employers fill jobs and people find jobs, presented a session on interview skills. One of the “do’s” — take multiple copies of resumes and letters of introduction to job interviews, because the interview may be conducted by more than one person. One of the don’ts — sitting back and slouching in the chair gives the impression the person being interviewed isn’t interested.

Other session topics included “How to Apply for a Job,” “Success Stories in Manufacturing,” “Entrepreneurship,” “Career in Law,” “Shipping and Receiving,” “Working for Yourself,” “Opportunities in Nursing” and “Acupuncture and Chiropractic.”

Students also could visit with 20-25 Noble County business and industry representatives at their booths set up in the school’s auxiliary gym. East Noble senior Kyland Sage picked up job applications from his visits.

“I’m interested in finding a job in Noble County,” he said. “I will fill these out and get them turned in.”

Many of the representatives said their companies and businesses have job openings and internships.

Central Noble junior Jessica Bennett said the summit for her was beneficial. She attended the session on starting a career in musical performance, because she has an interest in that field. Asked if she learned anything from the session she didn’t already know, Bennett said the presenter recommended seeking someone who will offer honest criticism of her performance, not just “sugar coat” it.

East Noble senior Caleb Clapp plans to study criminal justice at Indiana Tech for a career with the Indiana State Police or as a U.S. Marshal. He attended the session “Defensive tactics/law enforcement” in the wrestling room with Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp. “It was hands-on,” he said.

Central Noble junior Melissa Bloomberg attended the session on photography and learned about job opportunities as a professional photographer, and Central Noble junior Ethan Cabanaugh attended the session on manufacturing and engineering because he’s thinking about a career in electrical engineering.

Students crowded around many of the displays picking up brochures and business cards and asking questions.

Andrew Johns of Tenneco, a Ligonier manufacturer of auto parts, showed interested students the components his company makes for the Ford F-250 pickup truck.

“We tell the students about our company, and that we have jobs available,” Johns said.

Jennifer Fisher at the Group Dekko display said her company has internships that can lead to jobs. She tells students to apply through the company website. East Noble senior Ali Molen, who has a Group Dekko internship, discussed working at Group Dekko.

Christine Bitner, Courier Kendallville plant manager, showed students several of the different textbooks Courier prints at its Kendallville facility.

“The students ask about the company, the jobs and what they pay,” Bitner said.

Sherck said he was pleased with the cooperation from the various participants in the first-ever economic summit, and he hopes there will be more.

“We’d like to have one for middle schools to plant the seed that Noble County has a lot of opportunities,” he said.