Almost 400 middle and high school students took part in the Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Manufacturers Day events last week. That’s according to Special Projects Coordinator Ron Gifford.
He told the Hamlet Town Council Wednesday that more than 330 seventh graders had the chance to meet with 14 manufacturers and the SCILL Center during the main event last Thursday. “So they could ask questions of people to find out what kind of jobs they have, what kind of education is needed in order to get a job there,” Gifford said. “They have time at each booth.”
Gifford added that high school seniors were able to attend a career fair the night before. “Last year, we tried to mix seniors with seventh graders and the employers said ‘That doesn’t work. We’re trying to make too many elevator pitches to two different constituencies, and it didn’t work,'” he explained. “So we tried to move them into the night before the regular Manufacturing Day event, and we had about 60, pretty much all seniors in high school, show up from various communities. So it was fairly successful.”
Last week’s activities also included the foundation’s annual Prospectus and Achievement Luncheon. Gifford said those in attendance got to hear from a guest speaker from Kemin Industries. “Kemin, if you don’t know, is a mint company just south of North Judson on 39,” he said. “They take a particular brand of spearmint that’s grown by the family there. They originally were going to use the product for shelf preservation life on different products all over the world, and they have since found that there is some ingredient in that spearmint that they’re processing that staves off dementia.”
Meanwhile, Alex Weisheit was presented with the foundation’s 2018 Robert E. Hamilton Award.