Students explore colleges, careers.

February 26, 2019

Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast demonstrates how to properly handcuff a suspect during the college and career fair. Shelby High School junior Cassandra Pena is the “suspect.”

Students explore colleges, careers.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY – Hundreds of local high school juniors explored different career opportunities during the Fourth Annual Oceana County College and Career Fair Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Shelby High School gym.

The gym was divided in half with career opportunities on one side and colleges on the other side. Students learned about various career paths by talking to local experts in the fields, such as realtors, law enforcement personnel, bankers, government leaders, and many more.

Several business representatives provided hands-on tools for the students, such as a drone demonstration by Wickstra Realty, Inc. “It’s a nice event for the kids,” said Broker Larry Byl. “It broadens their horizons.” Byl and colleague Calvin Roskam, a realtor, showed the students how technology is benefitting the real estate industry. Virtual tours with a 3-D camera make it much easier for potential buyers to look at real estate. Purchase agreements can be signed online, which also offers greater ease for buyers and sellers, Roskam said.

Firefighters in training at the college and career fair, left to right, Roberto Rodriguez, Bailey Rigg and Drew DeMeesler.

Gage Landis, a Shelby High School junior, said he enjoyed talking to the law enforcement representatives because he is focused on pursuing a career in law enforcement. “Anyone with a badge is a benefit to talk to,” Landis said. “There is a lot of negativity in the world right now, the job is all about protecting and serving the people.” Landis said he plans to attend West Shore Community College in Scottville to obtain a law enforcement degree and then attend the Michigan State Police Academy.

Shelby junior Bryon Burmeister said he already had ideas of where he plans to attend college after high school but he is “trying to narrow down the list.” Burmeister was talking to Grace Adventures Food Service Director Niel Scharphorn. The Silver Lake camp and retreat center employs 50 people year-round with approximately 50-60 more employees in the summer, Scharphorn said.

Shelby High School junior Bryon Burmeister shakes hands with Grace Adventures Food Service Director Niel Scharphorn.

Hart City Manager Lynn Ladner said she enjoyed talking to the students about the many different job positions available within city government, such as city planning, public works, parks and recreation, management and police. “The kids are interested,” Ladner said. “There are a lot of jobs that don’t require a college education.”

Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast and Corrections Officer Joel Dickman showed the teens how to use a taser and how to properly handcuff a suspect. They also showed them how their dash-mounted computers work.

The students also got to try on firefighters’ gear and talk to local firefighters. Roberto Rodriguez, 22, said both he and his 42-year-old father are enrolled in the training academy to become local firefighters. “It has always been our dream job,” he said.

“Each year, nearly 45 businesses and 25 colleges join together to help guide over 200 local high school juniors in learning about career and education options after high school. Oceana College Access Network (Oceana CAN!) relies on community sponsorship to support this event aimed at connecting our community’s young people with local area businesses,” states an Oceana CAN! press release.

Shelby High School junior Gage Landis talks to DNR conservation officers Ben Shively, right, and Troy VanGelderen.

“The Oceana CAN! College and Career Fair is a focused effort to engage students to learn about their community and help them discover their unique path to success. Local businesses and organizations showcase career opportunities that are in high demand and the kinds of talent they wish to hire. Colleges and training centers share the diverse types of post-secondary education paths that a student might consider.

“A student’s path to education after high school can take many different routes including towards degrees, skilled trades training, certificate programs, or apprenticeships. This event provides the opportunity to explore different avenues, allowing students to make an informed decision so they are prepared to complete post-secondary education to meet the growing need for skilled workforce in our community.”

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

Corrections Officer Joel Dickman with the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office shows students how to use a taser.

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