Approximately 66 percent of students in Alabama public high schools go on to attend some level of college. But that means almost 35 percent are ready to enter the job market following high school graduation. A new type of career fair targets those students too.
Clay Chalkville High School hosted a career fair for students who wish to attend college and those who do not.
"Everyone's mindset is that you have to go to college to be somebody and this shows you that you don't," said Shea Smith, a senior at Clay-Chalkville High School.
She says she never had the desire to attend college. She never intended on obtaining a degree. Today she didn't feel left out. There was a career option at the fair that interested her. One that does not require a college degree.
"I've always looked at like the technical programs and cosmetology always stood out to me to help other people feel beautiful," said Smith.
English teacher, Carrie Beth Buchanan, helped organize the career fair. The senior students had an opportunity to visit classes based on career clusters. Within the classrooms, professionals from various industries were available for questions. They included plumbers, police officers, educators and business owners.
"We really just wanted to give out students the option of learning about a variety of careers. Some that require college, some that don't," said Buchanan.
But is this enabling students to not even attempt college in the first place. Does a program like this give them what some may call an easy way out? Buchanan says that is not the case. She says this is exactly what some students need.
"I've seen some of them get applications and ask great questions and ready start to build some connections that they can use later," said Buchanan.