Community Foundation of Grundy County holding annual Eighth Grade Career Fair

By DEVAN GAGLIARDO – Program Director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County

March 10, 2016

Growing up, I always wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals. Sound familiar?

Once I reached a certain age and realized what it really meant to be a veterinarian – working with a variety of animals (not just dogs and cats), providing dental care, seeing animals neglected, and sometimes euthanizing them, not to mention going through a lot of schooling – I changed my career path.

During high school and up until entering college, I wanted to be a psychologist even though I really didn’t know what that meant. Finally after a semester of college, I decided on my career. I was going to be a human resource manager. I was even lucky enough to have an internship in human resource during my senior year and I loved it – well some of it, OK, only the interviewing, orientation and training part.

After knowing exactly what I wanted to do (three different times) for so long it was time to spread my wings and enter the “real world.” What career path did I choose, you may wonder? Well none of the three things I always wanted to do! Surprised? My guess is you’re not because you or someone you know had the same experience. With the exception of a short time as a bank teller, I have worked in social services for the last 10 years. Starting as a victim advocate for victims of violent crimes, then a career counselor for adults with disabilities, and finally the program director at the Community Foundation of Grundy County. There are times I still wonder about career paths I never explored, such as nursing, and those careers I am now just learning exist.

Wouldn’t it be great if students just like me were given the opportunity to learn about careers they never knew existed so they could make smart choices regarding their educational track?

The Community Foundation of Grundy County and Grundy Area Vocational Center, in conjunction with the Business Education Council, want to give students that opportunity. We are happy to announce we are holding the second annual eighth Grade Career Fair. The purpose of the event is to expose Grundy County Eighth-graders to a variety of careers available in and around Grundy County.  On May 5, the District 101 Recreation Center on Morris High School Campus will be filled with more than 1,500 eighth-graders from Grundy County and the surrounding areas, as well as GAVC students and a variety of businesses from the Grundy County area.

We believe it is never too early for students to begin thinking about their future. However, we want it to be fun and engaging, which is why businesses have been asked to provide an interactive activity at their booth. At last year’s fair, students were able to see how a veterinary technician performs a blood draw on a dog, shoot water from a fire hose, and view X-rays of broken bones, along with many other activities. This year, we hope to expand the types of businesses available to students to include careers in the arts, mental health and the trades, among others.

In addition to businesses, we also would like the education sector represented at the fair. Currently each GAVC program will have a booth with student demonstrations. We also are hopeful some of our local colleges and universities will be able to attend this year.

At this time, we are still able to accommodate more businesses; therefore, we would welcome your business to participate. The fair is free for businesses to participate and is a wonderful way to talk with the upcoming workforce about the opportunities available in your career field, as well as what type of training and education is required. If your businesses is interested in learning more about the Grundy County Eighth Grade Career Fair, please contact Devan at 815-941-0852 or [email protected].

We hope to see you there!

  • Devan Gagliardo is the program director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County.

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