Sumter School District will change its career fairs to 2 days

Businesses, industry encouraged to sign up to teach students about Sumter job opportunities

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 8/9/18

Sumter School District is changing the format of its middle- and high school career fairs this upcoming year.

"It's basically a district-wide career fair," said Mark Gillard, the district's work-based learning coordinator, on Wednesday when …

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Sumter School District will change its career fairs to 2 days

Businesses, industry encouraged to sign up to teach students about Sumter job opportunities

Posted

Sumter School District is changing the format of its middle- and high school career fairs this upcoming year.

"It's basically a district-wide career fair," said Mark Gillard, the district's work-based learning coordinator, on Wednesday when describing the upcoming Education and Career Ready Business Summit to be held Sept. 11-12 at Sumter County Civic Center.

The idea originally came from members of Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee, which consists of several local businesses and industries that generally faithfully attend numerous schools' career fairs throughout the county each year, Gillard said.

The district said let's try it, and the two-day summit is now on the calendar. The schedule is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

Gillard said the event objective is for local businesses to showcase their organization with the end goal to keep students in Sumter after graduation for their careers.

"We're trying to keep all of our talent here in Sumter," Gillard said. "Even if they go off to college, at least come back and realize we have some great opportunities here at home."

To that end, manufacturing and service-sector industries throughout Sumter are invited to sign up to put their business on display at the summit.

According to Gillard, all the district's seventh-graders (about 1,300 in total) will descend on the civic center at rotating times and take part in the summit on Sept. 11 with a tour lasting two-plus hours. The following day, Sept. 12, all the district's 11th- and 12th-graders (about 2,100 total from the three public high schools) will attend a 2 1/2-hour tour session on a rotating schedule as well.

To date, Gillard said about 35 local businesses and industries have signed up for the event. He said the district would love to have 100 businesses and industries in attendance.

The district is especially trying to appeal to local businesses and industries that haven't attended school career fairs in the past and desire local talent for their future workforce.

An outdoor area will also be set up next to the civic center on the Sumter fairgrounds property to accommodate large vehicles and equipment.

It's best to sign up as early as possible to be a part of event publicity and brochures, Gillard said.

Businesses and industries can register online at https://goo.gl/forms/Mo7UQjfx2kWYlgJo2.

Individuals can also contact Gillard for more information, he said, at (803) 469-6900, extension 521.