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Diploma-to-Work fair shows seniors options
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Interstate Paper/Newport Timber human-resources generalist Pam Brown speaks to graduating seniors about career opportunities during the school systems first Diploma to Work job fair Friday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

High-school seniors who graduate next month but still are unsure of which career path to take were introduced to a variety of options Friday during the Liberty County School System’s first Diploma to Work event at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center in Flemington.
One-hundred students, 50 from Bradwell Institute and 50 from Liberty County High School, attended workshops in the morning and networked with area employers, military recruiter and representatives from Savannah Technical College and Armstrong Atlantic State University in the afternoon, according to Karisa Young, Liberty College and Career Academy director of high-school programs. The LCCA and counselors from the two high schools organized the student job fair, Young said.
A Georgia Department of Labor representative offered students a lesson in workplace ethics, meaning “soft” job skills, such as punctuality, and employment-search tips like dressing appropriately for an interview, Young said. Students also learned about job opportunities with GDOL and how to conduct online job searches, she added.
“The goal is for the students to talk to the employers,” Young said. She said students may learn what additional education or certifications they might need for specific positions with local employers — such as jobs in the medical field — and then can speak to STC or AASU representatives.
Bradwell Institute senior Samantha Wilson said she might wait until next spring to begin college. Wilson said she is interested in the medical field and planned to speak with the Liberty Regional Medical Center representative.
“Gulfstream, I’m excited to meet,” she added.
 In addition to Gulfstream, other major manufacturers that presented at Diploma to Work included SNF Holding Company, Firth Rixson Forgings, Target Distribution and Interstate Paper/Newport Timber. Along with LRMC, Hinesville’s police and fire departments and county EMS representatives spoke to youth during the day-long program. Military recruiters from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army National Guard met with students in the arts center auditorium.
“We try to give young people a shot,” SNF foreman Brett McCorkle said.
He and foreman Michael Rowan and hourly recruiter Thong Nguyen informed seniors of entry-level positions, such as packaging or chemical-plant operator, currently available with SNF. The trio also informed teens of other career options they might consider that would require highly specialized technical training or college degrees. SNF produces water-soluble polymers.
McCorkle said he and Rowan began with SNF as entry-level workers and worked their way up to supervisory positions.
“There’s always room for advancement,” McCorkle said.
Nguyen said the global company has grown tremendously during the past 20 years, and continues to expand. He said the corporation reinvests 60 percent of its profits back into the company.
“We expect to double our size by the end of this year,” Nguyen said.

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