Race cars, ambulances, tractor-trailers, Harvey-Davidson motorcycles, welding tools and robots. More than 1,300 eighth-graders had access to that and much more during the North Kansas City Career Education Fair Nov. 20 at Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology.
“Students have access to so many unique opportunities, and they have to decide early which path they’re interested in to take advantage of those once they get to high school,” said Renee Freers, director of college and career readiness for the North Kansas City School District. “Students begin working on a personal plan of study in sixth grade. Early in the eighth grade, they create a personal plan of study for high school.
“We like to say that’s done in pencil, because obviously it can change, but creating that plan helps to give them access to off-site opportunities like the ones offered here at the Business and Technology campus.”
A parade of eighth-graders had the opportunity to visit with instructors from each of the eight programs at MCC-BT and representatives from the Institute for Workforce Innovation.
The students also visited with staff members and representatives from programs at the Blue River, Penn Valley, Longview and Maple Woods campuses, as well as career centers, businesses and colleges in the Kansas City area.
“The great thing about the students who stopped by today is that they asked a lot of great, pointed questions and wanted to know what they could do with training in this program,” said Aaron Gibbs, a welding lab technician and instructor at MCC-BT who welded during an event featuring numerous interactive displays.
“I also was encouraged by the fact that several female students asked about welding. This isn’t always a field associated with women, but they are very good at it.”
After the student portion of the fair, counselors from the North Kansas City School District and career centers visited with coordinators and instructors from MCC-BT to learn more about the programs on campus.
In addition to enjoying lunch, counselors attended a presentation by Ryan Weber, the president of KCNext – The Technology Council for Greater Kansas City.
“This is a great way for our counselors to connect with Metropolitan Community College and learn about the programs,” Freers said. “We are grateful to have the partnership we do with MCC.”