Students at Whitehall-Yearling High School who do not expect to attend college are nonetheless planning well for their future, thanks in part to a new program this year.
Future Friday introduces Whitehall-Yearling students to a variety of jobs, trades and career paths.
Each Friday, with occasional exceptions, an owner, employee or representative of a business or trade organization visits the school to meet with interested students.
"It's a great opportunity for our students to learn about jobs and career opportunities," said Pam Glass, transition coordinator at Whitehall-Yearling High School.
The program was more than a year in the making.
Glass wanted to present the program last year but said she could not find a time for it. But this year, the school established Ram Time, a 30-minute session that functions as a homeroom for general student activity.
Glass took advantage of the opportunity to offer Future Friday as a component of Ram Time, inviting representatives of central Ohio employers and organizations -- often located in Whitehall -- to speak to students.
In the recent past, representatives from UPS, FedEx, Ultimate Health Care and the Electrical Trades Center visited the school.
Whitehall's Ernie's Automotive and Ashford on Broad, an assisted-living community, are expected to participate in Future Friday early next year.
"I like knowing some of the different things I can do," said senior Jourdan Gibbs, 17, who has attended multiple Future Friday sessions.
Likewise, senior Kaleb Allen, 18, said he enjoyed learning about different opportunities presented at each gathering.
Junior Riley Purdin, 16, said he has attended every session thus far.
"It shows you things you wouldn't think of otherwise," said Purdin, who wants to be a pilot or anesthesiologist but allows for the possibility of other career paths.
At the most recent Future Friday, Julie Maciejewski, outreach coordinator for the Electrical Trades Center, shared the opportunities available for students to enter a five-year apprenticeship program.
The Electrical Trades Center, located in Grandview Heights, is the training arm for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association.
"It's not just a job but a career path," Maciejewski told the 15 students who were on hand Dec. 7 to hear what employment as an electrician might be like.
Glass said she hopes students who don't plan to attend college use the program to explore options and get a head start on a career path.
"College isn't the only option," said Glass, acknowledging Whitehall City Schools has a greater number of students who will not attend college than some other central Ohio districts.
"My focus is to make sure those students know there are options and many other career opportunities," Glass said.