Saturday, December 20, 2014

OHS students get glimpse of Ottawa workforce, careers [With Video]

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Staff Writer | 1/9/2013

“Life is a series of choices strung together,” Derek Chappell, Ottawa attorney, told Ottawa High School seniors Wednesday afternoon during a reception at Ottawa University.

“Your future is right now. Your choices are in front of you,” Chappell, a 1983 OHS graduate and keynote speaker, told the senior class during the wrap-up session of the 2013 Ottawa High School Day on the Job event, which took place throughout the community.

“Life is a series of choices strung together,” Derek Chappell, Ottawa attorney, told Ottawa High School seniors Wednesday afternoon during a reception at Ottawa University.

“Your future is right now. Your choices are in front of you,” Chappell, a 1983 OHS graduate and keynote speaker, told the senior class during the wrap-up session of the 2013 Ottawa High School Day on the Job event, which took place throughout the community.

During the daylong event, students learned how forklifts were assembled at CargoTec, how the new patient lifts work at Ransom Memorial Hospital, what curriculum is required to enter the field of law, as well as gleaned information about numerous other career opportunities in the community and Franklin County.

“I thought the day was very informative,” Hannah Thomas, OHS student body president, said during the reception. “I think it was especially helpful for anyone who was looking to enter the workforce after graduation or who is interested in working in Ottawa after college.”

Thomas said she plans to obtain a degree in biology from Pittsburg State University, then enter the U.S. Navy.

“Then I want to enter pre-dental,” Thomas said.

OHS senior Kyle Evinger also had a clear goal for his future.

“I enjoyed going to the courthouse and talking with the lawyers,” he said. “I am interesting in becoming an attorney.”

The all-day event was designed to introduce OHS seniors to work, entrepreneurial and education opportunities available in Franklin County, organizers said.

The career modules included: health care, Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa; public service, Don Woodward Community Center, 517 E. Third St., Ottawa; or private sector, various locations downtown and at the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

“I thought the kids asked some good questions during lunch and afterward,” Blaine Finch, an Ottawa attorney who was one of the presenters during the sessions on the legal system, said. “They asked about what type of education is required to obtain a law degree, and with the popularity of CSI, we got a lot of questions about that field.”

After students ate lunch at American Eagle, 1529 N. Davis Ave., Ottawa, they took tours of American Eagle and CargoTec Solutions LLC, 415 E. Dundee St., Ottawa, followed by the closing reception at Mowbray Union, 1001 College Lane, on the OU campus.

“The kids got to see how forklifts are put together at CargoTec, but they also heard about other career options at CargoTec, such as engineering,” Kim Sipple, technology coordinator with the Ottawa school district, said. “I thought the tours were very informative.”

The event was made possible through a $10,000 grant from American Eagle, organizers said.

“I want to thank American Eagle for the grant that made this possible and to all the sponsors of today’s event,” Jeff Seymour, executive director of Franklin County Development Council, said. “I thought the event was successful.”

Seymour, who coordinated the event along with Becky Nevergold and Cassie Myers with Communities in Schools and representatives from the high school and Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, said all the sponsors, businesses, organizations and volunteers who helped put on the event made it a success and valuable to continue in future years.

“I thought it was a pretty cool day,” OHS senior James Pope said.

Pope said he had opportunities to talk with firefighters and the police chief about those fields, as well as learn about jobs in technology and other fields.

Kiersten Eads, OHS senior, said the presentations made her think about a career in law enforcement.

“I want to get a degree in psychology, which you can use in law enforcement,” Eads said. “I’m thinking about becoming a police officer.”

Blake Jorgensen, Ottawa mayor, told students he is hopeful — no matter if they enter the workforce after high school, go away to college or stay in town to attend one — that they will consider a future home in Ottawa.

Finch said he thought the event was an opportunity to let students know that the community cares about them and supports them.

“I hope these students will look at Ottawa and Franklin County as a place to spend their careers,” Finch said.

Chappell reinforced those same points during his keynote address when he talked about the opportunities students had Wednesday to learn about careers in health care, education, government, the legal system, industry and other private sectors.

“Whether you decide to hang up an attorney shingle or open a flower shop,” Chappell said, “I hope you know that you will always find people who are willing to help you and support you in Ottawa.”

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