Licking Heights helps students prepare for life after high school with job fair

Usually, the auxiliary gym at Licking Heights High School is used for gym classes, large meetings and an athletic event or two.

On March 19, though, the gym was transformed into a career hub, with more than 40 employers and schools set up to advertise in-demand positions and network with students about job and education opportunities after high school. The result was Career Xpress, a career conference targeted at juniors as they begin exploring their options after high school.

“It’s exciting to see opportunities available to our students,” said Dawn McCloud, principal of Licking Heights High School. “When we’re able to open up our school and invite companies to come speak directly with students, that puts high-quality careers directly within their reach.”

Employers included both major corporations such as Google, Abercrombie & Fitch and FedEx and local companies and organizations such as the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District and Licking Memorial Health Systems. The event included a kick-off presentation from Emily Smith, community relations director of Intel Ohio; a job fair; lunch and learn informational sessions with different employers; and a closing presentation from Eric Heis, head of public affairs with Illuminate USA.

Sponsored by OhioMeanJobs of Licking County, the all-day event is one of many recent efforts to introduce Licking Heights students to the opportunities in their backyard — including a recent $2.2 million Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. The money will create the school’s New Heights Program, which will prepare students for good-paying, stable careers like those promoted at the job fair.

College readiness and access remains a priority for Heights, too. The district has an impressive range of Advanced Placement (AP) and College Credit Plus (CCP) courses offered at the high school, with the majority of students taking at least one AP course during their four years and many students taking at least one CCP course, too. Some students earn enough CCP credits to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Central Ohio Technical College or Columbus State Community College.

Earlier this school year, the district also hosted a College Application Blitz for all Licking County school districts. Hundreds of students could apply on the spot for free to nearly 50 different colleges and universities.

“Our high school counseling team does an excellent job providing students with a well-rounded look at their options after high school,” McCloud said. “They take students on college visits and bring representatives in numerous careers here to speak with students during Lunch and Learns. Both their passion and goal is equitable access to the resources and knowledge students need to build their future.”

Information submitted by Licking Heights Local Schools.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Licking Heights job fair helps students prepare for life after school

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