What can you expect after graduating from high school? You can expect more work, of course, but will it be more school work, or will it be paid work for wages? If you choose wage labor, will it be an at-will job you can quit (or be fired from) any time, or will you make a heftier commitment and join the U.S. military?
These were some of the choices brought to life for local students Tuesday afternoon, when more than 50 individual presenters and some 40 organizations filled the classrooms and gymnasium for the 2016 Perry High School Career Fair.
Tina Kautzky-Kenney, iJAG director at PHS, co-chaired the annual career expo with Krista Fisher. Kautzky-Kenney described the effort as “two months of preparation for one day of fun.”
They were assisted in the work of the career fair by PHS guidance counselors Angelica Cardenas, Anne Horgen and Tami Valline.
The gymnasium was filled with exhibitors standing next to their tables filled with brochures and give-aways. A casual survey of the tablers suggested the options boiled down basically to two: either go to school a while longer or join the military. Detasseling corn was a third option.
Most of the major categories of work were represented, from traditional middle- and upper-middle-class professions, such as law and medicine, to traditional working-class occupations, such as farming, mechanics and construction.
There were speakers from public-service professions, such as policing, firefighting, EMT, local government, teaching, coaching and social work, and there were speakers from entertainment and media professions, such as artists, musicians, photographers, video producers, athletes, sports broadcasters and massage therapists.
The commanding heights of the economy were represented by figures from banking, insurance and real estate, and the more middling sort had their place at the fair, too.
Mother Goose spoke of “the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker” and of these traditional pursuits, one baker was present, Alison Kanealy of Perry. But no butchers came to the fair, not even one from the Tyson Fresh Meats plant near Perry. And the candlestick maker was presumably down at the Iowa Workforce Development office with the typewriter repair persons.