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September 18, 2018

Phoenix Students Explore Career Opportunities


To give students in the Phoenix Central School District a glimpse into what their future may hold, nearly three dozen community members recently came to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School to discuss their careers.

Phoenix middle school students (from left) Sara Brunell, Alexandra Hopps and Madison Watkins engage with Charby, a Labrador retriever currently in training to become an assistive companion. The students got a first-hand look at what it takes to be a dog trainer during a recent career day event.

Phoenix middle school students (from left) Sara Brunell, Alexandra Hopps and Madison Watkins engage with Charby, a Labrador retriever currently in training to become an assistive companion. The students got a first-hand look at what it takes to be a dog trainer during a recent career day event.

During multiple sessions throughout the morning, students had a chance to attend demonstrations and lectures in classrooms throughout the building.

Professionals from law enforcement, government, health, hospitality services and the trades were on hand to give students a first-hand look at specific careers.

“It’s very important to have people from so many different sectors here to give the kids some perspective into possible career paths,” said EJD family and consumer science teacher Kara Barton. “The curriculum includes a huge career piece and a career day like this helps them understand what the profession is all about.”

For the students who filed into the gymnasium to learn about dog training, they were surprised to find out that the position is much more than petting and yelling commands to a canine. In fact, guest speaker Linda Aloi, of K9 Capers, told the students that the pay scale for a dog trainer is largely dependent on their educational background.

“Definitely stay in school,” Aloi said as she kept a watchful eye on Charby, a six-month-old black Labrador retriever she was training for assistive purposes. “Get your high school diploma and go on from there. How much money you make really depends on how much education you have behind you. There are lots of other variables, but salaries can be anywhere between $17,000 a year and $52,000 a year.”

Dominick Demong tries on a pair of nuclear radiation protection coveralls while he learns what it takes to be a nuclear engineer during a recent career day.

Dominick Demong tries on a pair of nuclear radiation protection coveralls while he learns what it takes to be a nuclear engineer during a recent career day.

Education was a recurring theme during career day, as each profession stressed the importance of staying in school.

Careers in the trades such as auto repair are dependent on a solid educational background and plenty of hands-on experience, according to Rich Rainville, a guest speaker representing the Career and Technical Education program at the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation.

“If you’re going to be an auto repair technician, you have to be good at math and have a computer background,” Rainville said. “The technical manuals require a higher level of reading, so education is really important.”

Students also learned the importance of education and extensive training in careers such as firefighting, forensic investigation, military pursuits, governmental jobs and artistic endeavors.

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