Career fair draws 9,500 students downtown


Courtesy West Michigan Works!

More than 9,500 students from 85 middle and high schools in the region flocked downtown yesterday to learn about possible career paths.

MiCareerQuest brought 116 West Michigan employers in advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences and information technology to DeVos Place to teach students about jobs in their industries.

More than 1,200 volunteers helped at the event, which was sponsored by the state’s Talent Investment Agency.

“With an aging workforce on the brink of retirement, employers are concerned about their future workforce,” said Jacob Maas, CEO, West Michigan Works!. “It is critical to educate youth about a variety of occupations and career pathways now, so they are aware of all the possibilities that exist for careers in West Michigan’s many high-demand industries.”

Students throughout Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties participated in interactive exhibits and conversations at the event.

“MiCareerQuest is such an important event, because it gives us an opportunity to interact with students in a non-traditional way,” said Kelly Wilczak, recruiter, Mercy Health West Michigan.

“We need to engage students early and guide them toward occupations that are exciting and growing.”

Exhibit examples

The ER/trauma care exhibit was a fast-paced simulation of an intervention to stop bleeding to give students a realistic picture of what it means to be a nurse.

At the advanced manufacturing exhibit, students learned about automation via pneumatic and electrical controls by propelling ping-pong balls at a target and using a human machine interphase, or HMI, control panel to run induction motors.

The homebuilding exhibit featured several stations where students could use drills and screws to build a frame, design a kitchen stand or construct a plumbing configuration.

Simulations at the IT exhibit demonstrated the work behind making medical care more accessible and secure. Students also toured the brain with virtual reality, learned about building an app for speaking to a doctor over a mobile device and tested their hacking skills, while learning about the importance of data security.

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