Inaugural CTE Career Fair a success

Mar. 23—DANVILLE — Danville High School Junior Ka'Leah Bellik wants to be a travel nurse after graduating.

Fellow juniors Tayvion Diltz wants to be a sports physical trainer, and Ethan Schoenherr wants to be an underwater welder.

All three said they learned a lot about skills and schooling needed for their respective interests at Friday's inaugural Career and Technical Education Career Fair at DHS.

Those in attendance said it was a success for the students who learned about careers, and the businesses, education institutions and organizations sharing their information.

The career fair took place in the DHS Fieldhouse with more than 25 vendors participating.

Ethan said he talked to Danville Metal Stamping employees about career and schooling suggestions.

Aerospace Welder Dakota Wilburn said Danville Metal Stamping is a great place to work.

"Welding has been a dream," Wilburn said about his career. Wilburn is a Lincoln's Challenge Academy graduate and has been working at Danville Metal Stamping for about five years.

Ka'Leah said she learned about schooling and skills needed for nursing from Lakeview College of Nursing representatives.

"They answered a lot of questions," she said.

She said the career fair also was great for students, with hands-on experiences.

Some students were doing pull-ups at the U.S. Marine Corps table. Other tables included from the Danville Fire Department, Watchfire, CCMSI, Danville Area Community College, ThyssenKrupp, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, Robinson Chiropractic, WITY radio, aviation, electrical, carpenters and other careers.

According to DHS Welding Teacher Joseph Wernert, the CTE Department was excited to host the event.

"It is an opportunity for DHS students to work with businesses and speak about potential career paths in the Danville area," Wernert said.

The event was designed to help DHS junior and senior students be made aware of the vocational and educational opportunities available to them after graduation.

The Social Studies and English departments helped make it possible by having their students attend the Career Fair during their class periods.

"It has truly been a team effort from the building. Many departments and faculty have helped facilitate this event and we (were) excited to host the businesses and schools in our area," Wernert said.

The idea for a CTE Career Fair has been in motion since Sept. 2023.

"It was first thought of as a job fair, a way to bring students into contact with businesses they may not know exist and create a semi-professional environment for them to network. I remember many years ago, starting to look for a career in welding in Danville. There were so many opportunities, but knowing where to look and who to talk to was daunting," Wernert said.

He added, "Over the years as the DHS welding teacher, many of my students have expressed an interest in technical careers and when asked where to find jobs and careers in those fields, they would be shocked at how many career paths were available to them. Thus, as the CTE department collaborated with faculty around the building, the event morphed more into a 'Career Fair.'"

He continued, "Using the same principle of getting students in front of career professionals, we wanted to expand this to as many careers and schools as we could. One of the hardest things about making a decision for your career path is knowing what is out there. We try very hard here at DHS to show our students what they can accomplish, but the best role models for them are the great people working hard in our community every day. We have a wide variety of vendors, businesses and schools attending the event this year and plan to continue to grow our event every year to include as many vendors as possible."

Wernert talked more about the purpose of the event, saying, "We believe the students here at DHS (and in Vermilion County) should have the opportunity to learn about all the great careers in this region. This not only provides guidance for our CTE students, but also for our college bound students, our entrepreneurs, and our community. The DHS Career Fair aims to help foster professional relationships between our students and the leaders of our county, helping everyone find opportunities for their future. We have an abundance of wonderful people here in Danville and it seems like an easy decision to work together."