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Program highlights career opportunities in Sikeston

Posted Date: 10/10/2019

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Credit and Link :Standard Democrat

Young students in the Sikeston R-6 School District are learning there are quality careers in Sikeston as part of a program offered through the Sikeston Regional Chamber.

Called Students Observing Area Resources (SOAR), the program is designed to help students realize potential career opportunities Sikeston has to offer, as well as make the connections within the community to fulfill a prosperous future.

“I want (the students) to know that there are quality careers here in Sikeston,” said Marcie Lawson, Sikeston Regional Chamber executive director. “Whether they are entering the workforce or going to a two-year institution or four-year institution, our community is a good place to live and to work. The adults who are in this community are here because we choose to be here and want to make it better.”

The program is split into three groups with students from Sikeston High School and the Sikeston Alternative Center each meeting four times and students with the Sikeston Career and Technology Center meeting six times.

Based on the Leadership Sikeston program, students will tour local businesses and interact in face-to-face sessions with business leaders and professionals to see the unique career paths available.

On Wednesday, students from the Sikeston Alternative Center visited the Missouri Jobs Center and learned how to start looking for jobs.

Lori Caldwell, office of workforce development supervisor at Missouri Jobs Center, gave a testimonial and told students it is important to register at the Center and get involved with a case worker. She also emphasized there are plenty of jobs in the area, especially for skilled laborers.

“There are plenty of skilled laborers who make good money,” Caldwell said. “Plumbers and roofers want to retire and they need people to take over.”

Caldwell told the students that the average pay without a degree in Sikeston is about $10-11 an hour.

“We encourage you to get a skill to get a good living,” Caldwell said. “But there are skills out there you don’t have to have a degree for too.”

Joanna Branson, counselor at the Sikeston Alternative School, told the students that the main thing they have to realize is that when they get a job they have to show up and work hard.

“All the adults here, we had to work hard for what we have,” Branson said. “We didn’t have anything given to us.”

Caldwell agreed and added that many employers talk to workers at the Jobs Center asking about prospective employees ability to just get along with other employees and show up on time.

The program will continue through April.

“I want these kids to know there are adults out here working to make their community better so they have better opportunities,” Lawson said. “I don’t want them to give up. If they are going to stay in our community, I want them to be a productive part of our community.”