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Made in Franklin reaches job-seekers

Students and adults alike benefited from the Made in Franklin Career Expo and Open House in early November. The new component of this year’s event, the Open House and Job Fair, was met enthusiastically by local industries and the community.

“I’ve been looking for a complete career change,” said Ashley Anderson, who has recently moved to the area. “I’ve been looking into Northwest Shoals, to get a different degree or a different certification.”

Northwest-Shoals Community College was one of many industries and groups on hands to talk with the community about career and education opportunities in the area, making it possible for attendees to reach a number of people and a wealth of information all in one place.

“Now everything is online-based, and if you don’t run across the right source online, it’s hard to find everything,” said Eric Tidwell, who came to browse career options. “I think it’s really good and accessible to have everything under one roof.”

Coordinated by the Franklin County Development Authority, Made in Franklin also – and perhaps primarily – targets Russellville and Franklin County students, who attended the expo in four sessions over two days.

Sonya Faulkner, community liaison with Red Bay Hospital, was one vendor on hand for the event, and she said student interest was very high.

“The last group that came through, there were three guys, and they stood here for 20 minutes. They were all interested in going into nursing,” Faulkner said. “They had some very good questions.”

Most of the booths offered free goodies, like pens, candy and promotional items; examples of products created by the industry; and even hands-on opportunities, like the popular virtual welding simulator. Road Gear brought samples of their work that caught a lot of students’ eyes.

“They need to have more of this, make it bigger, for these kids,” said Road Gear sales Anthony Mayberry. “When I finished school 22 years ago, I wish I’d had something like this. I really do. Instead of it taking five, six or seven years to figure out, you can have a starting point – at least a starting point. It’s good for the kids. You see a lot of kids that have no idea what’s coming after May.”