JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – Greater Johnstown High School’s annual Career Fair on Wednesday allowed students to meet employers, industry groups, post-secondary options, and explore local offerings.
“I think having a career fair like this is important because I don’t think kids know about the variety of career opportunities at Johnstown,” said third grader Laurel McLarkin. She helped check-in students attending events and tracked attendance.
This event was aimed at 8th and 11th grade learners.
McClurkin was looking forward to her turn exploring the many tables set up in the school gymnasium.
Representatives ranged from the U.S. military to AmeriServ Financial, Community in Schools, HF Lenz Co., Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 354, Lockheed Martin, and more.
This year’s event was curated by business teacher Eddie Mikesic, who described it as a “great opportunity” for students to learn the hard and soft skills they need to excel as employees. .
“Being a good worker is more than being good at your job,” he said.
Mikesic also pointed out the benefits of students interacting with local experts in real time and learning about different levels of work within the company.
“I appreciate the community businesses taking the time to talk to the students,” he said.
One of those companies was Leonardo DRS, represented by Senior Training Specialist Chad Gyorke and Senior Human Resources Generalist Amy Sharp. The two introduced students to the career options available at the company and said they are hiring at all levels of education.
Gyorke said the company wants to hire new employees as older workers begin to retire.
“I think we’re just trying to prepare a succession plan,” he said.
Sharp added that he wants to raise awareness of what Leonardo DRS is doing. Contractors with facilities in Richland Township provide products and services to military, intelligence and defense contractors around the world.
Another representative was the Johnstown Fire Department. Capt. Ben Baker of Engine 3 said Johnstown’s toll fire brigade, like many other departments, is declining. But it’s still a worthwhile and fulfilling career, he said.
He told the students about the training and services the fire company has provided to the community over the years.
“You never know what you’ll be called to do all day,” said Baker.
Paisley Britt, Aniah Corson and Renee Cessna visited each booth together. Her three eighth graders were impressed with the numerous offerings.
“It’s a good time to consider different careers,” Corson said.
Britt added that the event is a head start for eighth graders to explore local employers, and Cessna said it’s great to have so many options.
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at his 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.