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‘Speed jobbing’ offers students glimpse of local opportunities

For the lonely heart trying to find love, there’s speed dating. For the high school senior trying to find a meaningful career path, there’s speed jobbing.

It’s a new joint effort between Beaufort County Schools and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce that kicked off for the first time on Tuesday at Beaufort County Community College.

Placing high school seniors face-to-face across the table with local professionals from 30 area businesses and agencies, the event offered soon-to-be graduates a five-minute window to learn about opportunities available to them right here in Beaufort County.

“We usually do job shadow day, but we wanted to switch it up this year,” WBCC Executive Director Catherine Glover said. “They’re all local employers who offer local jobs.”

In trying the new model, the Chamber and the school system hope to expand the number of opportunities students are exposed to during the event. While leaving time for questions, professionals offered students a wealth of information on their organizations and the career paths they offer, including educational/training requirements, info on the overall job market, salary range, and a typical day in the life.

“Sometimes, with job shadow day, the kids go and see one career and one path,” said Ashley Padgett, director of 6-12 curriculum at BCS. “They don’t learn about a lot of other opportunities that are in our county. This way, they’re going to talk to 20 different employers.”

Participating schools included Northside High School, Southside High School, Washington High School, Beaufort County Early College and Beaufort County Ed. Tech. All told, 60 students participated in the two-hour event.

“Talking to these seniors, you can tell they are very serious about it, with the eye contact, the handshakes and asking really important questions,” Padgett said. “We have the whole spectrum of jobs, from no degree needed, to associate to on up.”