Eastside students explore career options during Trine visit

EastsideNineteen students participating in the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program at Eastside High School in Butler visited Trine University on Feb. 4 to learn about career opportunities, many of which don’t require a college education.

“We were brainstorming on how to get the students out into the community to look at other opportunities for employment, and maybe even college possibilities,” said Sherri Bishop, who conducts the Pre-ETS program for Goodwill Industries. “We contacted Trine and it just kind of evolved from there.”

Besides getting to tour the Trine campus, students learned about the workforce certification and non-degree training programs offered at the university, as well as career opportunities in areas such as food service, campus operations and housekeeping.

“I’m hoping they learned that they don’t have to go to college to work in a college atmosphere,” said Nichole Brown, Mild Cognitive Disabilities teacher at Eastside.

The students also toured Trine’s engineering labs to learn more about the engineering and support services involved with manufacturing.

“We hope that students become more aware of highly skilled, well-paid career options in this region that don’t necessarily require a college degree,” said Linda Cooper, employment specialist at Trine. “If students walked away with even one new idea about possible career paths they hadn’t considered before, the visit was a success.”

“Some of our kids are not college-bound, but they still want to do something within the manufacturing career field,” said Brown, “so they still need to know there’s other jobs out there.”

The class also has made trips to Spangler Candy, Sechler’s Pickle factory, the Auburn firefighter training facility, DeBrand’s Chocolate, Sweetwater Sound and Fort Wayne’s Harris Boats, and hopes to visit Vera Bradley in the future.

“We’re trying to show them all different areas of possible employment after high school,” said Bishop.

Photos: Top, Jason Blume, executive director of Innovation One at Trine University, shows Eastside High School students a 3-D printed mold used in the injection molding process as they tour the Plastics Lab inside the Jim and Joan Bock Center for Innovation and Biomedical Engineering. Right, Eastside student Chris Hopkins holds a mold used in the lost foam casting process as Blume explains the process to students in the university’s Cast Metals Lab.