CCCTC Students Meet Employers in Preparation for Futures

LISBON, Ohio – Columbiana County Career and Technical Center juniors and seniors got an opportunity to meet with businesses, skilled trade unions, military and schools as they prepare for their futures after high school.

Nearly 60 organizations sent representatives to talk to students. Michelle Fitzsimmons, CCCTC student services coordinator, said the event she first organized six years ago gives students an opportunity to learn about companies with which they might not be familiar, which in turn expands their prospects for employment in the future.

Students got a chance to conduct mock interviews with companies and organizations and practice their interviewing skills, possibly leading to a work program job, summer employment opportunity or just a connection down the road.

“A lot of these are human resource people, so they are professional interviewers [who] give them tips on things they can do better,” Fitzsimmons said. “Plus, the companies, if they are looking to hire, they get a snapshot of some of our students.”

Fitzsimmons said she tries to find participants from the community that relate to the 12 career programs different students can study at CCCTC. That is easier, she says, with the health care and manufacturing industries, which have large presences in the region and are the focus of the larger programs at the CCCTC.

Donald Bott, left, construction manager, and Andrew Gorby, right, tower foreman, let Haley Carnes of Leetonia High School and Michael Hoffee of United High School try on the harnesses employees at STG Communications wear to safely climb and service communications towers.

But the event also gives a smaller company, such as LM Cases, an Austintown manufacturer of custom made cases, a chance to overcome a tight labor market and find talent. CEO William LaGuardia said his company came seeking young employees trained in CNC machining, carpentry and even automotive training because of the many parts needed to construct the cases.

Carmin Barron, a human resources assistant with Hall Industries Inc. of Ellwood City, Pa., said her company, which employs nearly 300 and fabricates parts for a variety of uses, including for the medical and airline industries, is looking for students with hands-on skills, such as entry-level CNC machinists.

“Mock interviews are going great, and we love it,” Barron said. “It gets them prepared for life after school. For them to go into interviews more comfortable and land a job that they want.”

Fitzsimmons said for some students there is a fear of the unknown, But if they become familiar with these companies, they might be willing to drive to Youngstown or elsewhere for a job.

“Leading up to it, we hear a lot of grumbling: ‘Oh I don’t want to interview. I don’t know if I want to go out there. I’m shy,’” Fitzsimmons said. “But then usually afterwards, they are like, ‘I’m really glad I did that. It was a great experience.’”

Pictured at top: Kamdyn Stacey, a senior information technologies student at CCCTC who intends to continue his education at Eastern Gateway Community College and then study financial management at Youngstown State University. Representatives from EGCC and YSU were in attendance at the career fair.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.