published Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Career fair in Dalton free for area students

IF YOU GO

What: Career & College Fair in Dalton

Where: Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center, 2211 Dug Gap Parkway

When: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday

What to do: More than 300 vendors, including businesses and colleges.

Speakers: 10 a.m. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black; 11 a.m. Georgia Army National Guard Brigadier General Joe Jarrard; Noon Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; 1 p.m. Executive Director of Women in Technology Today Stephanie Hill

A career and college fair in Dalton, Ga., will give students in Tennessee and Georgia counties the chance to meet with more than 300 college and business professionals.

More than 8,000 middle and high school students are expected at the career and college fair, set for Friday at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center . Free for area students, the event highlights career, technical and agricultural education plus science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- the educational focuses in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Education acknowledges 18 career pathways within the state, said Jay Williams, assistant principal for the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy, which is organizing the event.

"We really want to go all the way back to the eighth grade, so by the time they're freshmen, they might better identify with a career path," Williams said.

The career fair will attempt to gauge students' interests in all 18 career paths and even include some more "unusual professions" within them such as underwater welding and forensics, Williams said.

Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black is one of four scheduled speakers at the fair. According to Black, agriculture in Georgia is a $68 billion industry that's "always been viewed as a regulatory job," so it's important to reach out into the community and to career-seeking young people.

"I like to challenge young people to work hard and have a sound work ethic," he said. "You can never start too young. We need bright minds for the workforce."

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