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Career expo embraces change

Tyrone event aims to help students prepare for future workforce needs

TYRONE — A career expo held Friday for high school students marked its second year using a format focusing on local employment and entrepreneurship.

On Monday, students offered their reflections of the expo to school board members.

Senior Nicholas Vasbinder described the event as having a theme focused on how the workforce will change over the next 20 years.

“Whatever (job) you may be looking at now may not exist (in the future), but you may be doing something that doesn’t exist yet,” he said.

The expo was conceived by the Tyrone Chamber of Commerce and Tyrone Area School Board, who have collaborated on career fairs for over 20 years.

Rose Black, chamber executive director and school board member, said the expo needed a change to help local organizations better engage students, while allowing students to more thoroughly explore their professional opportunities.

“We’re trying to intrigue these kids and get them interested in more than just going to college and getting away,” she said.

The two parties decided to continue using the “conference” style format that they implemented last year.

The format includes keynote speakers for grades nine through 12, followed by breakout sessions and an exhibition of universities, military representation and local businesses.

Stephen McKnight, Altoona Blair County Development Corp. president and CEO, was one of the keynote speakers. McKnight shared that since 2015 in Blair County, $500-plus million has been spent in new project investment, while 7,000 jobs will be created by 2023.

“There is more opportunity now than ever before to start up a new business, create a new product and find investor capital. We want to help inform our next generation students of these new opportunities, but from what I saw in the students at Tyrone and throughout Blair County, I think they already see that opportunity,” he said.

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