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Ohio University Eastern Campus hosting 8th Grade Career Day

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (March 15, 2004) -- Eighth grade students from Belmont, Harrison and Monroe counties will begin exploring career opportunities at 8th Grade Career Day 2004 on March 25 at the Ohio University Eastern Campus.

Sponsored by Ohio University-Eastern, Belmont-Harrison Career Development Program and Belmont-Harrison Career and Technical Planning District, the fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include three career sessions and lunch. The eighth grade students will select three sessions to attend based on their career interests. Approximately 60 different sessions will be available.

Speakers invited to the event will discuss their careers, experience, training and educational backgrounds with students interested in that particular occupation.

Nearly 1,200 eighth grade students are expected at the career fair.

Misty Ratcliff-Balwanz, recruitment coordinator at Ohio University-Eastern, said exposing students to career opportunities at the eighth grade level is vital.

"These students will be asked very early on in their high school careers to choose a career track," she said. "Whether it be college preparatory, technical or business related, we want students to know that they have choices and many educational opportunities. Our goal is to expose students to a variety of careers and possibly spark an interest in a profession that they may have never even heard of."

"The College Tech Prep staff is very excited about participating in the 8th Grade Career Day," said Beth Shephard, assistant director of the Eastern Ohio Valley Tech Prep Consortium. "We believe that this is an opportunity to educate students about career opportunities. The career day also provides an opportunity for our staff to expose eighth graders to our College Tech Prep classes at the local high schools."

Chuck Bizzari, superintendent of the Belmont-Harrison Career and Technical Planning District, which administers the Belmont-Harrison Career Centers, said, "This is our second year of involvement, and the first year that the Career Day has been expanded to include Monroe County students.

"We think it's important for BHCC to be involved because there's more offered at career centers than people realize. We want to get the message out to the students that technical schools teach more than just turning a wrench."

Bizzari said that with the cooperation of Ohio University-Eastern, Belmont-Harrison Career Development Program and the Eastern Ohio Valley Tech Prep consortium, students attending the Career Fair will learn they have career choices.

"We're showing these students that they have many educational and career choices, and we want to help them make the best decision," he said.

According to Ratcliff-Balwanz, the 8th Grade Career Day illustrates how educational entities can work together and combine resources to benefit students in shared service areas. "The collaboration between Ohio University-Eastern, Belmont-Harrison Career Center and Tech Prep has been wonderful," she said.

In addition, there has been strong community support for the event. "Nearly 60 community members in a wide variety of professions will be presenting at this event," Ratcliff-Balwanz said. "This is a wonderful reflection of how area residents support educational opportunities for students."

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Media Contact: Thea Gompers, (740) 695-3008

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