BY PHIL WHEELER
CORRECTION: This article in previously noted that Camp Perry, the Ohio National Guard installation in Port Clinton, had hosted the Career Showcase for area high school freshmen. The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center building was the host of the event, and is owned by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Camp Perry was only the location for the Career Showcase and had nothing to do with the showcase. Normally, the CMP would charge for use of its facilities, said CMP spokesman Christie Sewell, but hosted the Career Showcase free of charge.
More than 500 ninth-grade students from Ottawa County gathered at Camp Perry’s Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center recently in Port Clinton for a unique Ottawa County Career Showcase.
It was the seventh year for the Ottawa County Career Showcase. This year’s event was held to coincide with National Manufacturing Day, and it continues to grow and benefit local students.
The crowd of students had the opportunity to gain hands on experience, not just talk to employers, about possible vocational choices available to them.
Students from Genoa, Woodmore, Oak Harbor, Danbury, Port Clinton and Put-in-Bay high schools had the opportunity to interact with 22 employers from throughout Ottawa County.
The goal of the special career day was to show that college wasn’t the only career path available to them; that excellent careers can be found in service industries as well.
Ken Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Catawba Island Club, said “It’s not that we are against college. It is just that we must recognize that college is not for everybody.”
There were employers from the manufacturing, health care, agriculture, and tourism industries represented by such companies as USG, Ohler & Holzhauser, Magruder Hospital, Avery Dennison and the Allen/Clay Joint Fire Department. Each offered real time opportunities to see what it was like working in the various fields. The fire department even had a ‘Jaws of Life” for the students to try out, and understand learning on the job can be very rewarding.
“The goal is to get our Ottawa County ninth graders to start thinking about their future, especially what they want to do after high school,” said Jessica Grzechowiak, Program Office Coordinator for Ottawa County Improvement Corporation. They get to engage in hands-on activities with many of our area employers.”
Local employers hope to make students aware of all the opportunities available to them. It isn’t necessary to move away, or to go to college to fund success. Students can learn a trade, be well compensated, and stay close to home.