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?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.