Career Exploration Expo well attended

May 7—RIPLEY COUNTY — On April 16, Genesis: Pathways to Success partnered with the five Ripley County high schools (Batesville High School, Jac-Cen-Del High School, Milan High School, Oldenburg Academy, and South Ripley High School) to hold the inaugural Career Exploration Expo.

Seven hundred twenty-seven enthusiastic students embarked on a journey through diverse career pathways presented by 32 businesses, 17 colleges, and two military recruiters.

With an emphasis on hands-on activities, students were provided opportunities from honing MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding techniques to capturing professional headshots, and wearing biometric glasses that report data to immerse themselves in a realm of endless opportunities.

Complementing these hands-on experiences were enlightening breakout sessions covering essential topics such as financial literacy, resume crafting, and mastering interview techniques, which are all vital skills for navigating life beyond high school.

Students departed the Expo with newfound empowerment, armed with the knowledge and tools to create their own paths to success.

Zarah Hileman, Milan High School's guidance counselor, and Ryan Langferman, Milan High School's principal agreed that the Ripley County Career Exploration Expo provided invaluable opportunities for students, and that by connecting them with local businesses, professional trades, and colleges, the Expo not only broadened their understanding of potential career paths but also created networking opportunities that will shape their future endeavors.

The event represented the first career fair hosted by Ripley County schools since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, underscoring the community's unwavering commitment to fostering and supporting the upcoming generation of leaders.

Hileman and Langferman are confident that the skills and insights gained via the Expo will empower students to thrive in their chosen fields.

Recently, the Indiana Education Legislature passed House Bill 1002 which requires all public high schools in the state of Indiana to host at least one college and career fair during regular school hours in an academic year for juniors and seniors. Genesis: Pathways to Success is a champion in uniting local schools to prevent the duplication of efforts and avoid the competition for resources.

The Career Exploration Expo facilitated a county-wide collaboration among Ripley County schools, offering valuable hands-on learning opportunities for students to engage meaningfully with vendors to solidify their post-high school plans.

This collaborative effort was particularly valued by vendors, as it enabled them to interact with a substantial number of students from various schools in a single day, rather than needing to visit each school separately.

In reflection of her time at the Expo, Ellie Lauber, a junior at South Ripley High School, said, "I really enjoyed the career fair! I thought it was very organized and educational. I loved how much variety of careers and colleges there were to see or talk to. I also liked how there were students our age with different businesses — that was cool to see. I want to go into the medical field, so I enjoyed talking to the healthcare booths a lot. Even though I liked the healthcare booths, it was fun to go around to other booths with trivia and prizes! Overall, this was a very good and helpful experience."

The Career Exploration Expo will return to Ripley County again on Monday, Sept. 9, 2024. More information will be provided for interested businesses and colleges soon at

Genesis: Pathways to Success thanks Ripley County Schools for incorporating the Career Exploration Expo into their curriculum and Milan Community Schools for hosting the event. Genesis also thanked Ivy Tech Community College for sponsoring the Hospitality Room, which provided booth hosts with refreshments during the day.

To learn more about the Career Exploration Expo, contact Amelia Comer by emailing at, calling 812-933-1098, or stopping by 13 E. George Street, Suite B, Batesville.

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