Sheffield wins, Beaty takes third at Industry Club Expo

After 10 weeks of career exploration, including field trips to local businesses and organizations, the five Industry Clubs of Warren County traveled to Cross Creek for the Annual Expo on May 14. There they competed against 26 clubs from all over northwestern Pennsylvania. Approximately 243 middle school students attended. In addition to the competition, students had time to interact with 11 industry and education partners who presented science, technology, engineering and mathematics information through displays and interactive workshops.

As two-time winners, Beaty Warren Middle School was the target of every club at the Expo. “We felt a little pressure to win again,” noted Karolyn Sullivan, advisor to one of the Beaty clubs. “I told the club members that it was important to focus and do their best.”

When the judges’ score sheets were tallied, the Sheffield Club won first place, with Beaty coming in third. “We were all surprised when we got the call on the way back home,” commented Cindy Hartburg, Sheffield advisor. “The club members worked hard on our presentation, and were very excited to win at the Expo!”

Each club selects an industry or business as the focus of its career-oriented presentation. This year the Sheffield Club chose the Forest Products Industry as its niche and tailored its presentation around the many aspects of the industry. Visits to the Allegheny National Forest headquarters and a local lumber mill gave the club members many insights into the industry, as well as good ideas for careers to present at the Expo.

More than 100 students in seventh and eighth grade from Youngsville, Eisenhower, Beaty and Sheffield middle schools participated in Industry Club this year. Industry partners including, Betts Industries, Ellwood National Forge, Ellwood National Steel, Ellwood Crankshaft Division, Blair Corporation Distribution Center, Bollinger Enterprises Inc. and Whirley DrinkWorks! all opened their doors to the clubs. “We focused more on field trips this year and less on speakers,” noted John Lasher, Warren Forest Hi-Ed School to Work Coordinator, who organized the field trips and provided support for the club advisors. “Seeing businesses at work brings the processes and careers to life for the students.”

The Industry Clubs are made possible by a grant from Venango Training and Development Corporation, the grant-awarding agency for Northwest Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Area Youth Services. Locally the clubs are organized through the School to Work Partnership of the Warren Forest Higher Education Council. For more information visit the web site at www.hi-ed.org.