Tony Guidroz, Director of Economic Development from San Saba, Texas, (population 2,600) shared his idea for a Blue Collar Career Fair at the LCRA Economic Development Forums, and I think every small town needs to start one.
He is bringing heavy equipment operators, an HVAC contractor, a stone mason, a plumber, an electrician, a welder, etc., all to one location. The professionals will do demonstrations and talks on these hands-on type careers. These are ones that pay well and have high demand, but don’t require four years of college.
Tony’s hope is to grab the attention of some kids who haven’t ever thought about these high-paying local jobs. There are 702 kids in the local school district, and 400+ are considered “at-risk” either because of grades or language barriers. So Tony wants to give them more choices and more chances.
The very first Blue Collar Career Fair will be May 16, 2012, at the San Saba Texas Civic Center. All those careers I just listed will be featured with hands-on, move some dirt, burn some metal, strip some wire demonstrations. Lunch is going to be cooked and served by a class given by the school nutritionist that day. (If you’re in the area, ask Tony whether you can drop in and take notes.)
I don’t know about you, but I think this sounds like a lot more fun than the “normal” career fair. Don’t you know kids will get excited about getting their hands on real equipment, for jobs that are within their reach? I mean, who doesn’t want to play with a skid steer loader or a welder?
[Photos: just a few blue collar careers from my photo collection.]
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What a terrific idea!
Miss Dazey says
I certainty hope this idea catches on and spreads. I know for a fact there is a storage of trained, skilled mechanics and in certain building trades. Truck drivers too.
How can we, the lovers of all things online in general and social media people in particular, help with this great idea?
Becky McCray says
Miss Dazey, you can pass it along to local groups, you can share it in your local paper, or you can just give this story a recommendation on Google +, or any other social sharing. :)
We do something similar in Knox County, TX. We have professionals from many of these careers come and speak to the youth about what they do, how much money they make, the shortage of people in their profession, etc. We also pair it with a college fair where the kids can get this technical training. We also offer the normal stuff as well, doctor, lawyer, nurse, etc., as those will also always be needed in small towns. We have a home town guy who returned here to practice medicine. He is proof that you can come back to your rural community and be successful in any career. The most important thing is that we are spreading the message we want them to return! They need to hear that as often as possible.