Ninth-Graders Explore Career Opportunities During Expo


Ninth-grade students recently had the opportunity to get hands-on experience while exploring potential career paths.

Students could learn to use tools that paramedics and first responders use in a typical day.

The first annual INSPIRE Career Expo was held on Thursday, February 14, and featured more than 50 companies representing industries such as construction, manufacturing, healthcare, supply chain/logistics and technology. The expo was produced by Junior Achievement of OKI Partners, Inc., and sponsored by the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Nearly 40 high schools in Greater Cincinnati were invited to attend. Six of those high schools were from Cincinnati Public Schools: Aiken New Tech, Gilbert A. Dater, Shroder, Walnut Hills, Withrow and Woodward Career Technical High School.

“This event is ideal for ninth-graders because it’s such a pivotal grade,” said Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Laura Mitchell, who also serves on the Junior Achievement board of directors. “Students who can see themselves in a career are more likely to stay in school and make the most out of their high school experience.”

According to Junior Achievement, more than 6,000 jobs go unfilled every month in the Cincinnati region. Developing the local workforce to fill those in-demand jobs means giving students the resources they need to explore the opportunities that are available to them after high school.

Students could experience what a construction lift felt like, courtesy of Messer Construction.

“Our goal is to get students excited and confident about their opportunities for a successful career,” said Greg Ebel, president of Junior Achievement.

From riding up and down in a construction lift or completing an obstacle course with hammers and drills, to programming a robot or learning how to administer CPR, students could try some of the actual tasks associated with a job at a given company. The interactive components sparked questions and conversations between students and company representatives, giving them an opportunity to learn about the industry, as well as relevant jobs.

Employer sector sponsors included Elevar Design Group, General Electric, Paycor, TriHealth and Turner Construction. Northern Kentucky University (NKU) and Cincinnati State served as education sponsors. Partner organizations included:

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • Partners for a Competitive Workforce
  • Workforce Investment Boards of Southwest Ohio
  • Butler, Clermont, Warren Cincinnati USA Chambers of Commerce
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber
  • Navigo
  • The Health Collaborative

View the slideshow of photos below. Learn more about Junior Achievement at

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