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By Erin Smith

Students at Bladen County’s middle schools participated in a Career Awareness Day conducted on Wednesday at the Elizabethtown Middle School. Career pathways were presented in both traditional and non-traditional fields.

Savannah Schmidt, with Bladen Community College, gave a virtual welding demonstration and encouraged students in attendance to try their hand at welding. Several students who tried their hand at virtual welding were impressed with the results.

She spoke with students who stopped by the Welding Program booth about welding and encouraged those who were attempting the virtual demonstration to give welding a thought when considering their career options.

Schmidt was recently awarded the NC Space grant scholarship and has made numerous presentations regarding the welding program.

Kuraray officials offered students a look at robotics technology and members of the Firefighters Academy gave students some exciting career ideas. There was also construction and masonry booths as well as Cosmetology, Bladen County 4-H and Future Farmers of America. Banking was also represented with booths from BB&T and State Employees Credit Union.

Willa Dean Williams with the Career and Technical Education Department of Bladen County Schools said,  “We have a welding program located on West Bladen’s campus and East Bladen students travel to Bladen Community College.”

Williams said the Career Awareness Day is conducted each year prior to students enrolling in their freshman year classes. “It gives them the opportunity to know what the curriculum is that is offered and the career pathways plus the students can collaborate with the different businesses and industries as far as career and jobs go,” said Williams.

Bladen Community College donated gift bags which contained items from various sponsors and  Career Awareness Day participants.

Sponsors and participants included CDW, Farm Bureau of Bladen County, Smithfield, Kuraray, Bladen Office Supply, Lumber River Workforce Development, Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Healthcare, E. J. Cox (Nathan Cox), First Bank, Bladen Community College, State Employees Credit Union, Campbell Oil and Gas Company, McDonald’s of Elizabethtown, NC Cooperative Extension—Bladen 4-H Youth Development, Specialty Product Technologies, Bladen County Schools Career and Technical Education Department, First Citizens Bank, and Adecco.