Central Haywood High School Career Day
Friday, May 5, Central Haywood High School celebrated Career Day with guest speakers and employers following weeks of planning.
Mr. W.C. Godfrey, Pisgah High School CTE teacher and AB Tech Instructor in Business Administration, and Mr. Michael Ramsey, McDonald’s Operations Consultant for 6 restaurants located in Western North Carolina, opened the event as keynote speakers in the school cafeteria and auditorium. Mr. Godfrey brings years of experience in the pulp and paper industry, as well as high school and college teaching experience; he talked with students about skills employers are looking for early on in the application process as well as later in the workplace. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation” he advised. “Your character is who you really are… Real success does not compromise personal integrity.” He also identified a number of “soft skills” that students could work on while preparing for employment and offered advice on appearance, completing an impressive job application, the importance of school and work attendance, and appropriate use of social media. Mr. Ramsey began by asking students the kinds of work that interested them; then he explained that many businesses, like McDonald’s, actually offer a wide variety of “jobs.” “McDonald’s is the largest land holder in the world,” he explained; consequently, McDonald’s not only needs proficient cooks, cashiers, custodians, and managers, but McDonald’s also employees building contractors, accountants, media specialists, nutritionists, and more. He encouraged students to look for the benefits that companies could offer that could help them further their education, such as tuition reimbursements, and reminded them that part-time “jobs” could develop into full-time careers for motivated employees.
After the keynote address, students met with over 30 guests set up in the school gymnasium. Students were provided questions to ask potential employers and were encouraged to learn as much as they could about local employment opportunities. Many employers were actively looking for high school graduates to fill spots that will offer full-time work and benefits; students could leave their resumes and could take information about applying for actual jobs. “Education after high school should be accessible to everyone, but may not be required for everyone,” one employer explained, “and we can offer on-the-job training to graduates who are interested in working for us in one of the wide variety of jobs our agency offers.” Guests included BorgWarner, Champion Credit Union, the Town of Clyde, the Town of Canton, the Town of Waynesville, Sonoco, Waynesville Soda Jerks, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Junaluska Animal Hospital, Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Giles Chemical, Manpower, NC Works, Emory Electric, Gary Hughes Electric, and McDonald’s. Military recruiters from the United States Army and the United States Marines were available to talk with students about the wide variety of opportunities to work for our nation’s military and the many benefits, including tuition assistance, available to veterans. “Most students do not realize that every job that exists in the civilian workplace also exists within the military workplace. There are many opportunities for students with different skills and interests,” one student commented. Jessica Honeycutt, high school programs coordinator at Haywood Community College, organized representatives from many of the high-demand programs at HCC to come to the event as well. Students got to meet actual instructors and program coordinators for electrical systems technology, building and construction, automotive repair and collision repair programs, nursing and related medical support programs, industrial systems technology, computer integrated machining, cosmetology, early childhood education, criminal justice, continuing education, college transfer programs, and more. “For many students, this is their first encounter with college faculty,” said principal Rodney Mashburn, “and we want our students to feel confident that college is accessible to them if that is what they choose to pursue after CHHS graduation. We so appreciate the partnership that Haywood Community College continually offers our students.”
“This Career Day has really been a school-wide effort,” explained school counselor / lead teacher, Teresa Heinz. CHHS students actually helped contact possible employers to invite them to the event and helped them set up when they arrived. Jonathan Whitson, CTE teacher, helped plan the event; in addition, his Personal Finance students made all the signs, and his Employability Club built “thank you” bags for the guests. Lynn Ray, Haywood County Schools’ Career Development Coordinator, and Jennings Sizemore, HCC / CHHS instructor helped recruit guests. CHHS English teachers helped each senior create a resume, and CTE teacher Amy Brown prepped underclassmen in her Career Development course on the application process and employability skills. CHHS students were responsible for event set-up and take-down. “I could not be more proud of the initiative these students have taken in making this event a success,” Mrs. Heinz added. “And the outpouring of support from our community for our students has been astounding! These volunteers took time out of their busy schedules to talk with our students about their work and what they are looking for in successful employees. We could not be more grateful!”