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UCPS students get career insight from area business leaders

Paul Elminowski, a chiropractor with Monroe Acupuncture and Chiropractic, explains acupuncture with a group of students at Sun Valley High School. Sun Valley biology teacher Mathew Moore (seated) volunteers his knee for an explanation of the process.

With more than 100 area business and industry leaders sharing insight into their chosen professions at today’s (Nov. 19, 2013) BizEd 2013, a lot of high school students’ career paths are sure to have been impacted.

Students from six UCPS high schools – Cuthbertson, Forest Hills, Monroe, Porter Ridge, Sun Valley, and Weddington High Schools – were exposed to careers that spanned everything from law enforcement to medical and nuclear engineering.

This second annual event is the initiative of the Union County Education Foundation and connects area businesses and business leaders directly to UCPS schools and the classroom.

Participants, dubbed “VIPs” (Volunteers Igniting Potential), offered students an overview of their occupations, showed examples of their jobs, demonstrated equipment used in their fields and offered personal insight into required education and job skills.

“It’s a win-win in both directions,” said the foundation’s Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Ed Davis. “First, the kids get to see the relevance of the education they’re receiving now and how it applies later on in the world of work. It also helps us develop a relationship with the business community. They see what’s going on in the schools, what we’re doing and what our needs are. And hopefully it creates a bond and a relationship where we can help each other down the road.”

Turbomeca CEO and President Matt Nelson said one of his goals was to show students the importance of math, science, English, writing and critical thinking skills.

“These skills are necessary no matter where you go in life,” Nelson said. “Whether you’re going into the military, a four-year school or manufacturing, you need those skills to be successful. It’s what pays the bills.”

A nuclear engineer from Duke Energy, Wesley Broome, said he wanted to talk to students not only about nuclear energy, but also about engineering in general.

“We like to educate people, particularly young people, about nuclear energy,” Broome said. “There are lots of stereotypes out there, so we like to be a force presenting facts. I would also like to talk to them about engineering career in general.”

Sun Valley High School Principal Dr. Shaun Poole said the event was an excellent example of the three Rs in education – rigor, relevance and relationships.

“The rigor is evident in the classroom as the students work with the teachers every day. The relevance comes in by having local business people come in and speak to them about various professions, about real life issues, and the responsibilities that have to take place in order for them to get into that field,” Poole said. “The relationships that the school has with the community is of the utmost importance.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Nov 19, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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