300 LHS seniors joined in a “speed mentoring” session with more than 40 volunteer mentors as part of the Clermont Chamber ‘Work Readiness Initiative’ program
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH – 300 Loveland High School seniors streamed into the Oasis Conference Center at 7 a.m. Tuesday, February 25, for a sneak peek into their future.
LHS Seniors streamed into Oasis Conference Center early Tuesday, February 25, for a Work Readiness Initiative mentoring program (Photo by Chuck Gibson)
Waiting for them was more than 40 volunteer mentors from all walks of life ready to share their work-life experience. The event was sponsored by the Clermont Chamber of Commerce as part of their “Work Readiness Initiative”. Four to six students at a time met the mentors at a table for a timed seven minute mentoring session.
A card placed on each table helped prompt students and mentors with questions about education, how the mentor reached their position, what the company looks for to hire, why a person would be fired, and number of career changes. Students came prepared with questions of their own. They easily engaged with mentors and offered a variety of questions about education, finance and different jobs.
After each seven minute session, the students rotated to meet with another mentor. During two-hour and thirty minute session each group of students interacted with 15 different mentors. Andrew McAfee, Communications Assistant for Ohio 2nd District Representative Brad Wenstrup, was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the students
“It was very rewarding to see so many high school students that are engaged,” said McAfee, from the perspective of working for Congressman Brad Wenstrup. “We’re out there constantly meeting new people, elected officials and all that.”
McAfee thinks the Millennial Generation may be getting a bad rap for not being as engaged as they should be. It was a bit shocking for him to learn the students know who Brad Wenstrup is, his position, and some of his background. It reminded him of a visit Brad made to talk with seniors at Loveland High School last year.
“It was one of the most engaging events we’ve ever had with high school students,” McAfee recalled.
Miami Township Administrator Jeff Wright engages with LHS Seniors during mentoring session Tuesday, February 25, at Oasis Conference Center (Provided)
“The intuitive questions they were asking and not just have you met Donald Trump. They asked about environmental policy and some other hard-hitting questions. It was enlightening. Loveland certainly has a good reputation for educating their students on government.”
LHS students gathered in the Oasis Conference Center before meeting with mentors there Tuesday, February 25. Loveland Schools Director of Teaching & Learning Andrea Conner can be seen lower left foreground (Photo by Chuck Gibson)
Students interested in college wanted to know how to navigate choosing a school and paying for their education without piling up a large debt. They showed a keen interest in who, or what inspired the career choice of the mentor. Some questions were as simple as what do you do. The students wanted to know about job satisfaction. They sought answers about the good, the bad, and how to handle workplace dynamics.
The speed-mentoring event Tuesday at the Oasis Conference Center was the first for McAfee. It was the fourth time for volunteer mentor, Science and Engineer Geologist, Terry Stransky. It was not about convincing the students to choose the career path of a geologist. It was an opportunity for the students to learn about different career choices and to be prepared to work.
“Students had an opportunity to talk to professionals from different lines of work and find out what college is like, what it is like to work in the real world, what employers look for, and to talk about life’s passions and what to do,” said Stransky.
Stransky is not easily surprised by questions or comments from the students anymore. While very few display an interest in his field of hard science, they demonstrate a wide variety of interests. The students were interested in a rock formation (looks like a tube) he brought along from a rock drill.
“Regardless of what career you’re in, there are certain things that are similar to all careers,” Stransky said. “We talked about those.”
The similarities of the necessary tools for success entering the workforce is exactly the message the chamber hopes to deliver with the Work Readiness Initiative. No matter what career path the Loveland High School seniors may choose for their future, being work ready is the important lesson being taught during the chamber-sponsored mentoring sessions.
At the Oasis Conference Center Tuesday morning, February 25th, Loveland High School seniors were engaged in embracing the experience mentors shared with them. They clearly valued the advice from the mentors.
300 LHS students and more than 40 volunteer mentors gathered for a group photo following Work Readiness Initiative mentoring session (Photo by Chuck Gibson)
“It’s very powerful,” said Andrea Conner, Director of Teaching & Learning, Loveland Schools. “Today we had more volunteers than we’ve ever had. That’s a real testimony to the community pulling together to give back to the kids.”
Clermont County Chamber President Matthew Van Sant equated the number of volunteer mentors, each giving three hours of their time, to a value of $10,000 – $15,000 dollars of work readiness teaching provided to the LHS students at no cost to Loveland Schools.
Click here to learn more about the Clermont County Chamber Work Readiness Initiative