Career Exploration Day: Bryan Station students paired with local businesses for hands-on experience

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By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward

In a hands-on Career Exploration Day, businesses from across Central Kentucky introduced themselves to freshmen and eighth-graders checking into job opportunities and possibilities for life after Bryan Station High School.

A subgroup from the Leadership Lexington class organized the expo, which will become an annual event starting this fall in partnership with Bryan Station, Tates Creek High School, and the new Frederick Douglass High School.

The interactive demo stations included robotics, 3-D printers, loan applications, virtual CNC machine shops, DNA extraction, IV drips, and a UK police cruiser, among others. A few students also buckled on firefighters’ gear and marveled at how the professionals carry so much equipment up several flights of stairs if needed. Ninth-grader Kobe Henderson particularly enjoyed the medical station, saying, “I liked how they let you try on the medical gown and put you in a (CPR/emergency) situation.”

Representatives from Lexmark showed off their latest equipment, including a 3-D printer. (Photo Provided)

Leadership Lexington, an eight-month development program sponsored by Commerce Lexington, gives participants like Quisha Ray a chance to plan and implement special projects in various areas, including education. “I pitched linking community businesses with students because our goal is for schools to produce the employees they need,” said Ray, who works in Human Resources at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky.

The businesses Ray’s group recruited for the expo aligned with Bryan Station’s four career academies, which debut in 2017-18: engineering, manufacturing, and robotics; information technology; medical science; and leadership and professional services. While this year’s freshmen have already selected their focus for grades 10-12, the expo enabled them to hear about specifics in other arenas as well. It also gave the eighth-graders a head start in making an informed decision.

A junior who checked out the booths, Elizabeth Hoffman, thought the event was really useful for the younger students, noting, “It gave them insight to see the kind of jobs in the academies they’re choosing.”

Ray noted that most teenagers don’t realize the variety of careers and positions available in different fields. “In the medical field (for instance), kids only think ‘nursing,’ but there are so many other jobs available. We hope this is a start to exposing them to all the world offers,” she said.

Heather Zoll Eppley, coach for Bryan Station’s career academies, was pleased at how the expo enabled students to explore so many fields in one day. “We asked the businesses to bring hands-on demonstrations to engage the students and help them see options that maybe they hadn’t thought of before,” she said. “We’re building relationships with these businesses and helping our community build a pipeline to businesses and careers in high demand.”

Expo participants

FCPS thanks these businesses for sending representatives: Big Ass Solutions; Link-Belt Construction Equipment; nonprofit Opportunity for Work & Learning; SRC of Lexington; Lexmark; MakeTime Inc.; Toyota; Corrisoft; DMD Data Systems; Fusion Corp.; SIS; Alltech; BCTC Pharmacy Tech; Lexington Fire & Rescue; KVC Behavioral Healthcare; Baptist Health; Morning Pointe; UK Healthcare; Lexington VA Medical Center; Anderson Communities; Bank of the Bluegrass; Blue & Co.; University of Kentucky police; Hampton Inn; Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance; and MCM CPAs.

Did you know?

The Ford Next Generation Learning initiative is a partnership between Fayette County Public Schools and the Business and Education Network of Commerce Lexington. As students prepare for college and careers, the high schools’ career academies will help them see the relevance in their learning while building relationships within the school and with community partners.

This fall, academies will be in place at Bryan Station and Frederick Douglass high schools for all grade levels and at Tates Creek for the freshman class.

For questions, contact Kim Lyon kim.lyon@fayette.kyschools.us the strategic partnerships manager for the school district.

Tammy L. Lane is website editor for Fayette County Public Schools

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