Career Signing Days Celebrates Students Turning to Skilled Professions

Michael Martinez wanted to become an airline pilot. But as he got older, Martinez, now 18, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a professional welder instead.

In fact, the student at Brazoswood High School in Clute, Texas, has already landed a job that will begin right after graduation.

He said, “My dad always wanted me to be in the white collar class, but he’s proud of me.”

Michael Martinez on Career Signing Day, 2022.

Source: Harold Nicholl

In Texas, where Martinez lives, there are a growing number of industrial job opportunities but fewer people to fill them.

Part of the labor shortage is due to experienced workers advancing out of the field, according to Chris Witt, senior vice president and site leader for BASF, a chemical company in Freeport, Texas.

“We want to grow the talent pool and we want to give students opportunities,” Witt said. “The goal is to show them that these are very good, high-paying jobs.”

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To encourage more students to consider careers in this field, the Martinez School District hosts an annual Professional Signing Day.

“This professional signing day came out of nowhere,” Martinez said. “I thought I might try it too.”

More and more people are accustomed to the fuss surrounding autograph days, when soon-to-be high school graduates vow to attend a particular university.

For college-bound athletes heading to big-name schools, these occasions are celebrated especially among friends, family, and the community at large.

Now, school districts offer their support and praise behind high school students who make a similar commitment to skilled trade.

Just as we celebrate a soccer player or any other athlete, we want to celebrate with pride our skilled men and women and their decision to pursue a career.

Shel Travis

Executive Director at SkillsUSA

said Chill Travis, executive director of SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit organization aimed at outreach to students with technical careers.

“What they do is essential work.”

This spring, more than 1,000 students from 33 states participated in Professional Signing Day.

In Brazoria County, just south of Houston, 48 graduating seniors, including Martinez, signed up for full-time jobs at one of the chemical and petrochemical companies that make up the Brazoria County Petrochemical Board.

These high school seniors in Brazoria County, Texas commit to full-time jobs on Job Signing Day, 2022.

Photo: Billy Lovelace, Brazosport College

This was Brazoria County’s fourth annual Job Signing Day and the most famous one. More than twice as many students have applied and been hired for full-time jobs than last year.

“The response has been exceptional,” said Aaron Innes, committee chair and resource development coordinator for the Brazosport Independent School District.

“We are on the cusp of being one of the biggest signing days up and down the Gulf Coast,” he added. “This is our goal.”

For consideration, students must submit written applications, including an essay and an interview with hiring managers.

“We need to know that these applicants are serious about their commitment because they can last their entire careers,” Innes said.

He added, “It’s a rigorous process because these jobs represent a significant investment through the contract and member companies of BCPC,” which now includes 25 companies, such as Chevron-Phillips Chemical, Dow, Huntsman and Vencorex.

“I was excited and scared because there were four girls [applying] And I wasn’t sure if we’d both get a job offer,” said Adriana Webster, an Angleton High School sophomore.

Adrianna Webster on Career Signing Day, 2022.

Source: Harold Nicholl

Webster, 18, was one of the students offered a full-time job at KCG Industries as a welder, earning $16 an hour.

“None of my family went to college,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do; I thought soldering looked fun and I was good at it.”

She started in July, after competing in the National Welding Competition (Webster is the Texas State Welding Champion).

Increasingly, teens are rethinking the value of college.

Amidst the increasing demand for workers, the rising cost of education and the growing burden of student loans, the number of students has increased Choose the paths associated with the job More than four-year colleges, according to recent reports.

With enrollment declining, skilled trade programs flourish.

The probability of attending a four-year school has fallen 20% in the past two years — down to 51%, from 71%, according to ECMC Group, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. ECMC Group It has polled more than 5,300 high school students five times since February 2020.

Meanwhile, more than a third of high school students said they believed in a job and technical education It can lead them to success.

“Today’s students have experienced the impact of the pandemic, and they want to make their own path – a shorter course, more affordable and directly related to a career – especially a career in a field that needs workers,” said Jeremy Whitton, President and CEO of ECMC Group.

A separate study by YouthTruth, which surveyed more than 22,000 students in the 2022 semester, found that more than a quarter or 28% of high school seniors said their plans had changed since the pandemic began, with fewer students interested. Going to college at all.

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