A fifth grade student gets a look inside of an ambulance during a career fair at the Dothan Technology Center on Friday.
“Who wants to draw stuff to make a living?” Cummings Signs Senior Vice President Jim Calhoun asked a group of fifth graders on Friday at the Dothan Technology Center.
Hands flew up from end to end as Calhoun explained how a graphic designer is among several jobs available in the sign industry. But Calhoun assured the students that while they likely wouldn’t need years and years of college to become a graphic designer, there is one skill the kids need to grasp as soon as possible if they haven’t already.
“You’ve gotta learn your math – that’s pretty much with anywhere you work, even Burger King,” he said.
“You’ve gotta pay attention and understand how to punch numbers and communicate.”
Cummings Signs was part of an annual career fair DTC holds to showcase potential career opportunities for fifth graders to consider as they enter the school district’s career preparation courses. DTC guidance counselor Emily Peluso said several businesses from throughout the Wiregrass showed an estimated 700 fifth graders some of the different careers available to them when they get older.
Peluso said the students also had the chance to watch DTC students in their different classes to see which courses the fifth graders might be interested in at the high school level.
Peluso said this year marks the fourth year for a career fair to be held for fifth graders at the center.
“We use the opportunity as a part of our recruiting tool to let the students know what the Dothan Technology Center is and what they can look forward to,” Peluso said.
“Fifth grade is a time we really start concentrating on career exploration. In February we bring eighth graders in to do hands -on activities within the programs to see what it is they might be interested in doing.”
Peluso said local managers, manufacturers, designers and other workers commit to attending the event each year. This year was the first for Cummings Signs to participate.
Cummings Signs spokesperson Sarah Norris said the company employs workers in project management, manufacturing, graphic design, engineering, sales and human resources.
“It is important to Cummings Signs to let the youth know what we do and how it affects our community,” she said.
Tammy Tullos, an aesthetician and spa manager at Spa Novus in Dothan, said her profession is a rewarding experience she wanted the fifth graders to understand and consider it.
“Their minds are still developing and getting a feel for what it is they want to be when they grow up, so the more their eyes are opened to the opportunities they can have, the better feel they’ll have for where they want to go,” she said.
Fifth-grade Faine Elementary School student Jasmine Johnson said she enjoyed the health center at DTC, where they learned CPR and how to fit a cast onto an arm. She said she wants to be a veterinarian but appreciated the exposure to new items, such as a 3D printer, during the career fair.
Fifth-grader Jadlynn Hagler said she enjoyed “saving” a mannequin in the health center at DTC.
“We get to learn a whole new experience,” said Jadlynn, who said she wants to be an art teacher.