As part of career month, Portage Lakes Career Center students turned the tables on professionals who someday could be their employers during the school's second Employability Expo.

As part of career month, Portage Lakes Career Center students turned the tables on professionals who someday could be their employers during the school’s second Employability Expo.

Students interviewed panels of professionals to get a better feel for what employers expect of them when they enter the workforce.

Junior Freddie Bracken, a network computer technology student at PLCC, found the expo to be helpful.

“It showed us what we would need to progress in in our careers (and) throughout the rest of our lives,” Bracken said.

Lisa Clarke, job-placement coordinator for the school, said PLCC focuses on career education throughout the year.

“In March, career month, we really make a point to include it in all of our lab program lessons every day,” Clarke said.

More than 50 employers from various industries participated.

James Meyer, communications division general manager for Epiphany Management Group, said the expo rewarding.

“I don’t often get to share openly about my failures alongside my successes in my day to day,” Meyer said. “Our entire group of panelists seemed open to sharing some honest and hard-fought experiences. I heard some really tried-and-true wisdom from the other speakers.”

Students asked many questions of the panels, including what type of background is necessary for a job, who helped the panelists get to where they are and how they got their current jobs.

In addition to planning the expo activities and lessons throughout career month, Clarke helps every PLCC student create a professional and polished résumé and assists both high school and adult education students with finding employment.

Throughout career month, students focused on personality tests, work-values assessments, intensive career exploration, interviewing and preparing for future employment. Clarke also helps them with the basics of getting hired, understanding a pay stub, background checks, cleaning up their online presence and benefits.

The month concludes with career mapping, planning and decision making, setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals and interviewing.  

As part of career month, Katherine Burik of the Interview Doctor spoke to students, and the process will culminate in a schoolwide interview contest to begin after spring break.

Tari Northcutt, director of public relations and clinical liaison at Pebble Creek assisted living center, praised the school for its efforts during career month.

“As an LPN for over 24 years, I have been blessed with many opportunities, from critical-care nursing, to administration to my current position with Pebble Creek, but I can honestly say that although I did not attend PLCC’s W. Howard Nicol School of Practical Nursing, my son did,” Northcutt said. “He has been an LPN for over eight years and has been blessed with a terrific career that began at PLCC.”