High school sophomores got the chance to talk with local veterinarians, morticians, police officers and more at an event this week.
St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce Programs Coordinator Mary Brown said the My Success Event organized by the Chamber and presented by Boehringer Ingelheim featured 65 area businesses this year.
“The My Success event is a hands-on career laboratory for high school sophomore students,” Brown said. “We showcase the careers that are available, not just in St. Joseph, but in the northwest Missouri area, the businesses where they can find those careers and the educational requirements necessary for those careers.”
Some of the “hands-on” opportunities included the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service display. Dr. Nada Woodworth works for the USDA and said their tables at the event included displays of animal organs that, with gloves on, students could touch.
“I am a veterinarian and I have two inspectors who come with me and we explain to the kids that the meat that they eat is safe,” Woodworth said. “So we bring samples of normal body parts, the normal cow, the normal pig, normal sheep and normal chicken and then we have, at the last table, the abnormal and we show them examples of things that would not go into the food chain.”
Woodworth said they also talk with the students and give them information about careers available in food safety, including food inspectors, veterinarians, enforcement investigative officers and more. Woodworth has been a part of the event for 10 of the 11 years it’s been offered.
“The event is just so awesome from the standpoint of exposing the kids to what is available out there as far as the different jobs, the different career opportunities that are there,” Woodworth said. “I’m almost 60-years-old and I didn’t get to do something like this when I was in high school and I wish somebody would’ve thought of this back then. For them to be exposed to all the different opportunities that are there is just wonderful.”
Destiny, a sophomore at Benton High School, said the event is interesting, fun and introduces them to the options available.
“We took an online test and it determined which category we went into like human services or technical stuff like that and based on that, we go to different booths that would lead to careers in that pathway,” Destiny said. “We’ve been to a bunch of (displays), it’s a bunch of great opportunities and it’s really interesting learning about everything.”
Mary Brown with the Chamber said 2,500 students came through the event this year from 49 high schools in the area.
“It’s a lot of work to put this event on, but it’s so worthwhile,” Brown said. “It exposes these kids to so many great opportunities. They are our future workforce.”