By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
High school students are currently learning from local professionals what it takes to be a part of the workforce. Operation Preparation began on Thursday, Jan. 31. Youth Service Center directors are asking more volunteers to step up and share their occupational expertise during a series of career panels throughout February and March.
The Operation Preparation College and Career Readiness Plan is an annual project to bring real world concepts to life through the community at large.
“This is such a great opportunity for our students to meet people who have the experience in a given field, who can tell them what it’s like out there in the workforce,” said Caprecia Sizemore, director of South Laurel High School’s Youth Service Center.
Career Exploration and Development is one of the Youth Service Center’s “Action” components, and immersing the students in Career Panel seminars and activities, such as the Reality Store in March is a natural fit, she said.
The Laurel County School District is actively pursuing ways to help students become college and career ready. The district’s goal is to have 68 percent of students ready by the 2014-15 school year. Operation Preparation is geared towards sustaining Kentucky’s economical viability and competitiveness, to make sure every student who enters the workforce is prepared and ready to meet the demands of the 21st century.
“Career panelists bring authenticity to the career explanation process. Hearing experts from a career area speak about the skills and education needed to secure employment in that area validates the need for rigorous high school preparation, as well as post-secondary training/education,” said Monica Smith, district director of secondary education. “Students appreciate the guidance from career experts and eagerly follow this advice.”
Professionals who are leading the Career Panels range from job fields of information technology, arts and humanities, business and marketing, agriculture, communications, social sciences, education, health care, manufacturing, transportation, public and human services. Panels will take place every Thursday at South Laurel High and North Laurel high schools from now until Thursday, March 14.
The North Laurel Middle School Reality Store will take place on March 20; South Laurel Middle School Reality Store on March 28. Reality Store is a financial simulation where students choose careers and make decisions about their budgets and future lifestyles. Volunteers from local businesses will each sit at each station representing their business to help students manage their money, purchase fictitious items and pay bills.
To conclude Operation Preparation, a Career Fair will be hosted by NLHS on Thursday, April 18 for all high school students in the Laurel County from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To volunteer, contact Rachel Hyde at NLMS at 862-4719; Cindy Durham at NLHS at 862-4703; Charity Fuson at SLMS at 862-4748; or call Caprecia Sizemore at SLHS at 862-4730.