First graders explore opportunities at Careers on Wheels event

Published 2:44 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Sirens blared, flashing lights dazzled and booming horns echoed through the lower parking lot of E.L. Turner Park as first-graders from Crenshaw County Public Schools embarked on an exciting journey of career exploration during the Careers on Wheels event held March 19.

Organized by Crenshaw County Career Academy in collaboration with Southeast AlabamaWorks, the event aimed to introduce young students to various careers within their community and beyond. 

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A lineup of vehicles and machinery awaited the eager students, offering hands-on experiences, demonstrations and valuable insights into different professions. Each group had a student volunteer from Career Academy to help the teachers lead the tour as the groups moved through the stations. 

Haley Kilcrease, Crenshaw County Schools College and Career Coach, shared her enthusiasm for the event, highlighting the importance of community members serving as role models for the students. Kilcrease expressed hope that the event would encourage students to dream big and explore diverse opportunities in their future endeavors.

“ ‘Careers on Wheels’ was such a fun event for us all to participate in,” Kilcrease said. “I loved seeing our amazing and talented Crenshaw County citizens pour back into our students. We all need to be inspired by the people around us and I hope the event helps to teach students to dream big when it comes to different opportunities in their futures.”

Representatives from a diverse array of fields and a wide variety of machines and equipment, were present, including The City of Luverne along with some of their vehicles and equipment from several city departments, Luverne Police Department, Alabama Forestry and several pieces of equipment, Pepsi of Luverne, Luverne Veterinary Hospital, Crenshaw County Highway Department, Brantley Volunteer Rescue and one of their ambulances, Kona Ice and more. The students learned about how various vehicles, machinery and tools contribute to specific job functions, sparking curiosity and engaging questions from the young attendees.

Southeast AlabamaWorks donated Kona Ice treats for each student, adding a refreshing twist to the learning experience. 

Kathy Plowden Smyth, Rural Workforce Coordinator with Southeast AlabamaWorks, emphasized the significance of collaboration in making the event possible and in helping pave the brightest path possible for Crenshaw County students.  She expressed delight in witnessing the students’ enthusiasm and hoped that the exposure would inspire future career interests among them.

“Southeast AlabamaWorks was pleased to partner with the Crenshaw County Career Academy to bring the ‘Careers on Wheels’ Career Discovery event to Turner Park,” Smyth said. “The coordination with the Board of Education (BOE) and County Extension was key to the success of this experience for our first graders. We hope that seeds were planted in the minds of these young people for future job interests. The students were so excited to see the vehicles operate, hear the horns and sirens, and ask questions of the operators.”

Career Tech Education Director for Crenshaw County Schools Ashley Catrett said that the partnerships and community support that enabled such enriching experiences for students is vital to the success and prosperity of our youth and our county. 

“We are so very thankful for the partnerships and unwavering community support it takes to ensure our students are exposed to careers at an early age,” Catrett said. 

Not only did Careers on Wheels provide a platform for students to interact with various professionals but the event also underscored the collaborative efforts of educators, community organizations and local businesses in nurturing the next generation’s potential.