Seeking a new path
Job seekers and potential employers were brought together in a career day at Vance-Granville Community College on Wednesday.
More than two dozen agencies, companies and institutions set up stations in the Civic Center to display information about their services and the kinds of employees they need.
Students and former students prospected among the stations to assess possibilities.
“It’s an opportunity for students and alumni,” said Linda Fletcher, director of career services for VGCC.
The college offers more than 40 curriculum programs offering certificates, diplomas and degrees. Area residents can participate in continuing education, and high school students can begin their college education early.
This flexibility offers many options. Fletcher pointed out Terry Glover, a former VGCC student who continued her education at St. Augustine’s University. Glover, 57, took advantage of St. Augustine’s learning site in Henderson.
“It would have been too much to commute to Raleigh every day,” she said.
She will graduate in May with honors. She is looking forward to a new career that will be different from working in a tobacco factory, which she did before entering VGCC.
Fletcher said Glover represents the significance of the links VGCC makes with other institutions and organizations.
“It’s so important for us to have those partnerships,” she said.
But many different types of students attended the fair, which sought to cater to as many of them as possible.
Danielle Yancey, 22, of Henderson, represents a more stereotypical college student. She has graduated once with credits in medical office administration. She is now working toward certification in legal and general office administration, which she expects to complete in May.
One of the youngest participants was Caleb Neal, 16, of Henderson. He is a high school junior in the Early College Program at VGCC. He previously attended Gaston College Preparatory School.
Ronald Watkins, 59, offers a different story.
“I’ve been going to school since I was laid off in 2009,” he said.
An electrician, he was a foreman and quality control specialist with a large company.
Amy Clatfelter, 37, of Youngsville, is a nursing student at VGCC. She plans to take the board examination in May to be certified as a registered nurse. The career fair has been helpful, she said.
“It’s nice to talk with agencies that have nursing positions, to see what kinds of opportunities there are,” she said.
This will be a second career for her. Previously she worked as a service coordinator with Children’s Developmental Services Agency in Henderson.
Tyler Woodside, 24, is a sophomore in the college transfer program at VGCC. He worked in a bank after he graduated from high school and is looking toward a career in business or accounting.
“I’m trying to get a jump on job hunting,” he said.
That’s also the approach of Gerell Lewis, of Oxford, and a sophomore at VGCC. He won’t graduate until December, but he’s not waiting to think about career opportunities.
Obie Oakley, 46, of Oxford, is looking for a position in sales or computers. His experience in the broader job market is limited.
“My mother had a business, and I worked for her,” he said.
Shellie Hughes, 18, of Henderson, is in the college transfer program. She was there to explore business-related or office-type careers.
“I don’t have to work, but I want to work,” said Donald Laregina, 61, of Louisburg.
He retired with 30 years of service with the U.S. Postal Service on Long Island, N.Y., before moving to North Carolina. He is taking two courses at VGCC and spent the morning checking out opportunities with the potential employers.
The different ages and interests represented on Career Day reflect VGCC’s role in the community.
“Our annual career day serves the students and the surrounding area,” Fletcher said.
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