Area businesses can share their knowledge and love for their career fields at a career exploration fair for more than 800 eighth-graders during the inaugural, countywide Download the Future education week. The event goes from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the William R. Johnson Coliseum.
"We're trying to encourage the business people to come on out and take advantage of this opportunity," said Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Partain. "The eighth-graders are planning on being there and they're planning on seeing the businesses."
(Businesses may download a form here: http://nacogdoches.org/forms/careerfairflyer.pdf)
"These are potential employees not so far from now, and potential customers not so far from now, too," he said.
The fair and share events during the week are a partnership among a large group of area leaders including the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, Stephen F. Austin State University, the City of Nacogdoches, the Nacogdoches
Economic Development Corporation, Gen TX, Gear Up, Nacogdoches County United Way, The Daily Sentinel, the Society for Human Resource Management and all of the county school districts.
"The effort centers on the idea that we could improve youths' lives and our community by fostering that ‘dream big' spirit in their hearts," said Daily Sentinel Editor and Publisher Rayanne Schmid.
While many businesses are already committed to participate in the career fair, a number of openings remain.
There are many ways to become involved through financial support, volunteering time or even donating food to help feed the exhibitors.
A flyer concerning the career fair can be found in the most recent chamber packet, or by calling Rayanne Schmid at 936-558-3200 or Barbara Holl at the chamber, 936-560-5533.
The career fair is made possible in part to a College and Career Readiness Marketing Grant. The money was obtained from the Higher Education Coordinating Board by the Deep East Texas P-16 Council, said Judy Abbott, SFA Dean of the College of Education, P-16 Council chair and a member of the chamber's education committee.
"We've been involved in promoting career-readiness and a college-going culture for several years now, and when the education committee began talking about this initiative, we began talking about the potential for the P-16 council and the chamber to come together and do more than we had done before," she said.
"Download the Future" week begins with a Feb. 4
Nacogdoches ISD Sendero al futuro event and ends with a Feb. 11 Lufkin ISD Sendero al Futuro event designed to make Hispanic students aware of the different college and career paths available after high school.
Another part of the "Download the Future" week includes a Daily Sentinel-sponsored essay and poster contest in which students are asked to write pieces or draw pictures that depict what they want to do when they grow up and what it will take for them to get there.
Both contests are being administered through the schools. The art contest is dedicated for kindergarten through third graders and the essay contest is for fourth through twelfth graders.
"The art contest can get very young children thinking about what they want to be when they want to grow up and the essay contest for the middle school and high school students are meant to provide an opportunity for teachers and students to begin those conversations, to think about that and to let kids write about what it is they're thinking," Abbott said.
Winning entries will appear in the Sentinel during the week of Feb. 4-11. Anyone who would like to donate prizes to help honor the children who receive top honors may call Rayanne Schmid to participate.