Students check out career opportunities

BLACKFOOT — Bingham County high school students had the opportunity to explore career and college options at the Bingham County Career Exploration Fair Tuesday at Blackfoot High School.
Fifty-three representatives from employers, higher education, armed forces and trade unions were in attendance at the event. High school students from schools throughout Bingham County attended the event, which is designed to allow students to explore potential career opportunities and to discuss with employers the training and education they may need.
Mike Nelson, human resources manger for Premier Technology, addressed students prior to entering the fair about the growing need for an educated and skilled workforce.
He said growth in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields will create several new opportunities for employment, but people filling those jobs will need to be highly skilled.
"There's some problems coming up in the U.S. that these kids are going to be faced with," Nelson said. "With that there's going to be more job opportunities in the STEM fields."
Currently, he said, there is a large pool of unskilled workers vying for a handful of positions when there are several skilled positions with few qualified candidates, some requiring on-the-job training.
That gap is expected to grow as more people retire and fewer skilled workers are able to fill positions.
Todd Johnson, an internship programs specialist for the Idaho National Laboratory, said it is important for college students to develop their skills in college through internships. He said there are numerous opportunities for internships at INL in various career fields. He said the greater the skill set of an applicant, the greater the chance he/she will be hired.
The Career Exploration Fair gave students the opportunity to explore careers and to discuss education and qualifications with potential employers.
Seniors who attended the fair may apply for one of three $500 scholarship sponsored by the Bingham County Career Exploration Fair Committee.
Scholarship applications and letters of recommendation are due Feb. 24 to the Idaho Department of Labor's Blackfoot office. Students who did not receive an application at the fair can pick one up at their counselor's office or at the Department of Labor, 155 N. Maple St.