Tools of the Trade: 8th graders take over WSCC campus

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Wallace State Community College Program Chair, Art/Visual Communications, Adrian Scott, left, speaks to students during the Tools of the Trade Career Fair Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Over 1,200 eighth-grade students from Cullman, Marshall and Morgan counties descended on the campus of Wallace State Community College (WSCC) Thursday, Nov. 3, to attend the Career Showcase: Tools of the Trade Career Fair. “Vendors” representing areas of study at WSCC and career avenues available in the region filled several campus buildings and lined the paths between them. 

“The Tools of the Trade event was an incredible opportunity for eighth-grade students from our area schools to experience hands-on activities and skills across all career clusters,” shared WSCC Vice President for Advancement and Innovation Suzanne Harbin. “These are careers that students can have in the Cullman area and we are so appreciative of our business and industry partners who participated and supported.  Wallace State has so much to offer our community, and showcasing all of our programs, including the allied health programs in the Simulation Center and the manufacturing programs in the new Welding Technical Training Center, allowed for students to have a more real-life experience. We hope that this inspired students to consider a variety of careers for their future.”   

Over 1,200 eighth graders participated in hands-on activities during the Tools of the Trade Career Fair at Wallace State Community College on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune) 

A collaboration between the college, the Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA), Cullman County Economic Development and Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, the showcase allowed students from many schools to explore what it takes to enter a career they may be interested in pursuing.  

CEDA Retail and Workforce Development Manager Susan Eller described the event. 

“We had over 80 booths in four zones for students to visit. These booths represented an assortment of potential careers to explore. Some careers required a lot of education, some required less, which is Wallace State’s expertise, and some required no formal education. There was really something for everyone. The students spent approximately 45 minutes in each of the zones. They could spend all the time at one booth where they had a lot of interest or they could visit with numerous booths learning about what they do, skills required to work there and about pay and benefits provided by the company.” 

Eller had a conversation with one student who exemplified the purpose of the event.  

She shared, “I spoke with one young man who said his favorite part was meeting with the WSCC Welding Department. He was interested in pursuing a career in this field and he was able to talk directly with the instructor, see the classrooms and state-of-the-art training equipment available at WSCC.” 

Sponsors for the event included the Cullman County Community Development Commission, River Valley Ingredients, Cullman Power Board, Cullman Electric Cooperative, Tennessee Valley Authority, Alabama Farm Credit, HomTex, Inland Buildings, Industrial Development Board of the City of Cullman, Cullman County Industrial Development Authority and Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism. 

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