Students from Buckeye Valley High School and the Delaware Area Career Center toured downtown Delaware Friday and spoke to business professionals about jobs that don’t require a college degree.
Holly Quaine, president of the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce, said the idea for such an event came from DACC Career Readiness Coordinator Lisa-Marie Reinhart and Buckeye Valley High School teachers Jessica Sharp and Zac Landefeld.
“The idea was theirs. I was delighted to put it together, and our Chamber members jumped at the chance to participate,” Quaine said. “With workforce our employers’ biggest challenge, creating a pipeline from our local school districts is vital to our being able to maintain the economic prosperity we enjoy. The Friday stops of businesses that offer fulfilling, exciting, high-paying careers with paths to advancement that our students can begin right out of high school are just the tip of the iceberg in both industries and skill sets.”
Though one scheduled speaker at the event was cancelled due to a fog delay at Buckeye Valley, students heard from Ana Babiasz, the president & CEO of Fidelity Federal; Kirt Trimble, the risk management advisor at Trimble Insurance; and Trevor Thomas, from Emergency Plumbing Service, who gave students a tour of his work van. The group also visited Ohio Living Sarah Moore, where they were given tours through health care, maintenance and culinary arts jobs.
Babiasz told students she is always looking for local and enthusiastic employees that she can rely on, regardless of a college degree.
“There’s so much pressure to get a college degree, but there are so many alternatives,” Babiasz said. “There will always been a need for community banks. We really serve a purpose here. When you come to work at an institution like this, you really learn.”
Thomas echoed Babiasz’s sentiments, and he added one alternative to getting a four-year degree is to learn and build a skill set.
“Find a job you can build on,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to be engaged in what you do.”
Sharp said trip was very worthwhile to students, and she added it was an opportunity for students to “see jobs they didn’t know existed.”
Sharp said it was valuable for students to hear what employers are looking for when they hire new staff.
Quaine said opportunities are “everywhere” in Delaware County, and she encouraged parents to talk to their children about their careers as earlier as middle school. Quaine said, “College debt or doing nothing are not the only two options as our bright students leave high school.
“I invite any parent to contact me at the Chamber and give us the chance to show them the opportunities for their children’s future that are in our backyard today,” Quaine said. “Jobs that lead to careers that most likely aren’t on their radar but are part of our Chamber world every day. And it really is the parents who will drive any initiative that partnerships between the schools and the Chamber cook up. The schools do such a great job educating our kids, and our parents do such a great job making our kids feel loved and valued. If parents allow the private sector to partner with them, I know what a difference we can make in the future of their children’s independence and quality of life.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.