GREAT FALLS — The second annual Worlds of Work event took place on Tuesday at Great Falls College MSU and the University of Providence.
The job fair is for eighth to tenth graders to help them begin to think about what careers might interest them in the future.
“We have 74 exhibitors that are providing a hands on, interactive, experiential event for eighth and 10th grade students from across the state,” Shane Etzwiler, President and CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce said.
While many might think that eighth grade is young to begin thinking about a career, Etzwiler believes it’s the perfect time to start.
“We need to pick a starting point,” Etzwiler said, “If we can get them in the eighth grade right before they're going into high school, then they can start thinking, ‘Well, these might be some classes I need to take.’”
The Worlds of Work Fair came together after Great Falls leaders heard about a job fair of the same name going on in Alabama. They traveled to the state to learn more and decided that it would be beneficial for Great Falls to have a fair of their own.
“You know, an event like this takes partnerships, partnerships with so many organizations, so many people throughout the entire community,” Etzwiler said, “And the support has been phenomenal. So we thank everybody in Great Falls. We thank all of our partners as well.”
The fair was chalk full of interactive activities related to the different fields of work, such as chain sawing, welding, CPR training, pasta making, and multiple Air Force stations with helicopters parked on the campus lawns.
The fair helps kids learn about what aspects of the workforce are exciting to them as well as what things they do not care for.
“Just at a young age when you're learning about who you are, you're learning about what you're good at in school,” Raymond Porter, Associate manager of field marketing with TDS Telecom said, “It's connecting that with the opportunities that are actually available where you live.”
Telecom is one of the main supporters of the Worlds of Work fair, awarding a $10,000 grant to Central Montana Works to help put the event on.
The fair had about 180 volunteers and an estimated 2500 students in attendance. Many of the students found that the fair was beneficial, changing their answer to the ever-present question, ”What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Definitely learned a lot of new stuff, and it's a great experience,” Payne, a 14-year-old at the job fair said, “I get to learn all these careers and jobs, and, yeah, it's really fun.”
While it is only the second year of Worlds of Work, it is clear that the event is still a huge success and continuing to grow.
“This kind of event couldn't happen without partners, without volunteers,” Kim Skornogoski, Marketing director for United Way Cascade County said, “So truly this is a community event right here on these two campuses.”
The job fair is a great way for young students to get an idea of what their future may look like, as well as what they need to do to get there. To learn more about the Worlds of Work event, click here: https://worldsofworkgf.org