Five Ohio Valley high schools had the honor of taking part in West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s first ever regional High School Career Fair.
Senator Manchin has sponsored others, but he says this career fair is unique.
The goal of the fair is to inform area high school students of the career opportunities right here in the mountain state.
“Do what you love, make money and raise your family in the Ohio Valley.”
That was the message of the regional career fair in Paden City.
Hundreds of students came together from Wetzel and Tyler Counties to learn about the college, technical training, and job opportunities available to them.
“It’s very important to showcase jobs and opportunities students have here locally and throughout the Ohio Valley. Kids think they have to leave the are to find good jobs, but no. We have jobs here in West Virginia for you,” said Jay Salva, Principal of Paden City High School.
More than 30 vendors, ranging from regional colleges and technical schools to local businesses, like WTRF, were on hand to talk with students, giving them a glimpse at what they can achieve after high school.
“The job fair’s great. It gives a lot of students a new perspective outside of school. It also gives them multiple choices throughout the Ohio Valley. I see myself staying over the next few years,” said Teran Malone, a junior at Magnolia High School.
“It makes me feel confident, makes me feel there’s a lot of opportunities, and a lot of good people out there that are working really hard. It makes me more comfortable that I can stay here and help the community regardless of what job I take,” said Savannah Bragg, sophomore student at Hundred High School.
Of course, keeping students in the state is what the career fair was all about.
In fact, in 2016, a study by West Virginia University found that most students who graduated from a West Virginia public college didn’t go on to work here. That’s why officials are using career fairs to show students they have options and they’re closer than they think.
“It’s just so exciting. We see the young students coming through and you can see the excitement in their eyes when they hear, ‘Hey, there’s jobs. You can stay at home and have a great job.’ So yes, these job fairs are excellent and we’re really pleased that Senator Manchin put this on today,” said Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sharon Thomas.