Columbia Area Career Center showcases opportunities for students

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COLUMBIA - High school students were able to attend a showcase the Columbia Area Career Center hosted Thursday evening, to figure out what career is right for them. 

The center provided students and their families with plenty of different interactive presentations and activities to give the students insight into potential career choices. Medical, culinary, and engineering were a few among the different expertises offered during the showcase. 

The director of career and technical education for Columbia Public Schools said this is an important time for high school students, and the career center is there to help jump start students with their careers.

"It's time now for parents to come out and look at what we do and be able to help guide their students on future decisions that they'll be making," Randy Gooch said. "The purpose of the program tonight is to expose students to what we can offer them." 

Gooch said most of the classes the career center offers are for elective credit, but can offer students skills and experience they can't get in a traditional classroom. The center also partners with nine different universities to offer students dual credit that can be applied at certain universities. 

"We don't have that age-old question that many students have in courses, 'Well, how am I going to use this?'" Gooch said. "There's always a practical side. This is how the industry uses it, this is how it is."

One high school senior student who's taken numerous classes within the center said there's no comparison to the classroom. 

"I've learned so much about what I want to go into, which is architecture and engineering. Getting to do these classes really helped me build on what I wanted to do, and it helped me narrow down my career choice," Bailey Grieshaber said. 

He said that despite the center's long stay in the community, sometimes the resource goes unnoticed.

"We often get told, 'You guys are the best kept secret in Columbia.' It's not like we hide it, but promotion is key," Gooch said. 

Students previewed certain careers with hopes of registering for them for the spring. 

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