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West Palm Beach—Hundreds of Palm Beach County Public School high school students had an opportunity to learn about careers in Palm Beach County at the Business Development Board's and School District of Palm Beach County’s "Claim Your Future Showcase” on February 7 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
The BDB worked with the School District to bring together high schools and local companies so that students could learn about career paths and the possibilities that are open to them as the county continues to attract more employers. Students enjoyed interaction with employers and workers in the growing sectors of Life Sciences, Aerospace/Aviation/Engineering, and Financial Services. Other industries represented included Construction, Healthcare, Marketing/Digital Media, Advanced Manufacturing, Government, Information Technology, Security Systems/Electricity, Public Safety, Legal/Insurance Services, Real Estate/Architecture, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Headquarters, and Hospitality.
The daylong event featured a series of panel discussions with Palm Beach County business leaders from a wide range of industries, as well as the “soft skills” needed for success in the business world. A panel discussion on aerospace, aviation and engineering careers attracted many students including several juniors from Glades Central High School. “I am really interested in the computer engineering field,” said one student.
According to Kelly Smallridge, President & CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, more than 65 Palm Beach County companies participated in the discussions and exhibition hall. Smallridge said, “This extraordinary partnership among the Palm Beach County School District, Palm Beach County companies and the Business Development Board demonstrates that the County is a community that means business and invests in the future of our workforce. As more companies are attracted to the advantages of doing business here, Palm Beach County will be ready with a skilled and informed pool of qualified workers.”
"This event is a culmination of an entire community of stakeholders coming together and providing information for our future workforce. It's great to see the partnership of the BDB, CareerSource, and the School District of Palm Beach County aligning our efforts to benefit Palm Beach County and our students," said Dr. Peter Licata, Director of Choice and Career Options for the School District of Palm Beach County.
Reflecting on the event, Michael Corbit, director of business development, CareerSource Palm Beach County, said, “The showcase provided excellent opportunities for high school students to learn about potential careers after graduation, thanks to our local businesses in various industries.”
“It’s important for us to reach out to the community and connect with the younger generation,” said Kelley Nall, distribution and marketing manager for SV Microwave.
In a display showcasing her company’s many products, Elizabeth Woodmore, a senior recruiter with Florida Crystals, talked with students about opportunities in agriculture, engineering, supply chain management, accounting and finance. Nearby, Morgan Sachse, marketing coordinator, Weitz Construction, focused on introducing students to the construction sector. “It’s much more than hammers and nails,” she said.
“Career fairs are a great way for students to explore a wide range of opportunities and connect with people in the workforce,” said Whitney Coverstone-Tarchinski, assembly operations engineer in Systems Engineering and Validation at Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach.
The showcase sponsors included Florida Crystals, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Hedrick Brothers Construction, Parametric Solutions and the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.
About the BDB: The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is the official public/private economic development organization for Palm Beach County and Enterprise Florida. Founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit corporation, our primary purpose is to attract and retain new industry, business investment, high quality jobs and workforce development through corporate relocations, expansions and international trade. During the past five years, the BDB has assisted companies that have created more than 13,000 direct jobs with average salaries greater than $68,000, resulting in more than $627 million in capital investment to Palm Beach County and an economic impact that exceeds $6.95 billion. Additional information can be found at the BDB’s web site, BDB.org.