On Thursday, April 11 at the Mebane Arts Center, freshmen from each of the Alamance-Burlington School System’s high schools, including Eastern Alamance High School, attended the annual ABSS Manufacturing and Skilled Trades Day.
Robin Bowers, Director for Career and Technical Education for ABSS, organized this event with local businesses and the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce. The event was designed to expose the county’s youth to the many opportunities available to them in Alamance County in the manufacturing and skilled trades, while also providing those businesses a chance to do some early recruiting.
“This was designed as an excellence opportunity for local manufacturing businesses to "sell their careers", providing a time to make an impact on ninth graders, before they select core and CTE courses that will support their journey to be better prepared to apply for CAP when they are a rising Junior. This is also an opportunity to highlight different skilled trades as a career option to students,” ABSS official Jenny Faulkner said of the Manufacturing and Skilled Trades event.
Some of the businesses and local organizations that participated in the Manufacturing and Skilled Trades event, and were on hand providing information to the ABSS students, included the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Chandler Concrete, Samet Corporation, NC Works with an interactive career computer, West Rock, Kemco, Superior Cranes, many CAP partners, the Mebane Fire Department, Alamance Community College, Modern Builders, McGee Bros, D & J Quality Construction, ABSS CTE, Elon University, Honda Power, Mebane Tractor, and others.
The ABSS freshmen, between 600 and 700 in total, including EAHS’s Class of 2022, got a chance to experience hands-on activities like programming a huge highway sign from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, shooting off fire hoses and trying on fireman gear under the guidance of the Mebane Fire Department and the Graham High School Fire Academy, touring EMS ambulances and sitting in the driver’s seat of a bulldozer, drilling screws into pieces of wood, using a computer to check salaries for jobs across the state from NCWorks, and seeing machining and computer-aided cabinet making processes from local businesses, among many other activities.
There were heavy equipment machines onsite, including a bulldozer and a large truck with a bucket ladder, as well as numerous fire vehicles. Students spent a total of two hours - half inside the MACC, and half outside - to experience real-life local businesses, their products and jobs, and to gather information about opportunities available for them in the local community.
Junior Achievement of North Carolina is partnering with ABSS Career and Technical Education to highlight Manufacturing and Skilled Trades in Alamance County as viable career choices to students. The Alamance Career Accelerator Program, issued through a partnership between ABSS and Alamance Community College, was represented at the event. Alamance CAP apprentices and their manufacturing companies were on hand to explain the apprenticeship opportunity for high school juniors and seniors. In addition, staff from Alamance Community College was on hand to describe ACC’s many programs for students to enhance their long-term career prospects.