DCIT holds 10th Annual Interactive Career Fair
Hands-on event gives students experience in career technology fields
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Students from Darlington High School and Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology crowded the campus of the Darlington Institute of Technology (DCIT) on Friday, Oct. 2 for hands-on learning during the 10th Annual Interactive Career Fair.
The Interactive Career Fair is a branch of DCIT’s “Pathways to Success” program, which is a statewide initiative to expose 10th-grade students to more career opportunities and to prepare them for life after high school.
Representatives from a dozen local industries hosted informational presentations on a multitude of career technology fields, including engineering, arts and mass communication, agriscience and biotechnologies, health science and business.
Companies and organizations represented at the Interactive Career Fair included Nucor, McLeod Health, Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, Sand Hills State Forest, Pee Dee Region Stewardship, S.C. Army National Guard, U.S. Army, Francis Marion University, Hartsville Middle and Darlington High schools, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative and Seagars Construction.
The career-oriented presentations, known as “academies,” lasted about an hour each with three sessions per topic throughout the morning. DCIT Director Bert Guerry said the purpose of the Interactive Career Fair is to engage students from Darlington County School District who might be interested in taking career technology classes. It is just as important, Guerry said, to provide students with opportunities to experience the real-world application of the skills that can be learned at DCIT.
“You want to give them information about what we do here at DCIT, but you also want to show them what’s after school,” Guerry said. “These kids have to graduate and get a job. Our purpose here is to graduate students ready for the workforce and ready for post secondary education.”
Darlington County School District Superintendent of Education Dr. Eddie Ingram reiterated the value of face-to-face interaction with actual professionals provided through the Interactive Career Fair.
“It’s important for kids to see that they can get training and certification at DCIT for lucrative careers,” he said. “They can take their training and certification as far as they want. We’re thrilled that so many businesses have a keen interest in the future workforce, and we appreciate them taking their time to offer expertise.”
Jason Brown, a career specialist at Darlington High, and Kathy Palmer, a human resource supervisor with Nucor, led an academy focused on preparing to enter the workforce. The professional duo infused a bit of humor with their presentation when acting out mock interviews. One interview gave students insight on bad habits and behaviors exhibited during a job interview, while another showed off appropriate language and responses to tough interview questions.
Hunter Thomas, a public relations and marketing specialist with FDTC, discussed with students a career path in communications. Thomas also took questions from students about other programs of study provided at FDTC.
During and engineering presentation, three employees of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative explained how the cooperative works to deliver electricity to homes. The group brought an array of equipment for the students to see and also provided a tour of a bucket truck used to repair and install electric wires.
For the first time, the Interactive Career Fair sourced actual DCIT teachers to give prospective students an in-depth look at the classes available at the institute. Bert Sandifer teaches three classes at DCIT: business law, Google apps and sports/entertainment marketing.
Sandifer showed students a video of a previous business law class during which other Darlington County students carried out a mock trial. Students portray the roles of attorneys, clients and judge. He explained how the Google apps class takes an in-depth look at the company known for its search engine, mapping applications and more. Sandifer used video once again to give Interactive Career Fair students a look at the sports and entertainment marketing class, which culminates with a student-created awards show featuring a “red carpet,” industry lighting, school-wide voting and video recording.
DCIT will host a second Interactive Career Fair this semester in November for students from Hartsville High School and Lamar High School