Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 Career Expo- Helena, AL

Wesley Criswell, owner of Higher Call Heating and Cooling, told the students that he started as an apprentice at 17 learning the trade with no formal training. Students need to be 18 to apply and expect at least three years of on the job training to truly learn HVAC.  He stated it basically takes only a few things to be successful in his business: practical determination, passing drug tests, showing up, perspective, and perseverance. In his opinion, true success is knowing Jesus. Brantley Champion, electrical contractor, talked about how there is a severe shortage of welders and diesel mechanics.
Ashley, Human Resource Director at Golden Flake, told the students that it took 25 positions to make potato chips at their factory. Fresh potatoes come in on the trucks and after they are peeled the potato peel waste is sold to cow farms. It takes 10 minutes from potato to bag, with 60-80 bags being processed a minute. A puff of nitrogen and double lined bags help keep the chips from breaking when packaging. Applications are online with a minimum age of 18. Drivers must be 21. A high school diploma is helpful and all training is on the job. Brian Williams from Alabaster Parks and Rec. talked about how he daily uses math and computer skills to plan for plant purchase, planting, and landscaping.

Plumbing and Electric was another area students could choose to attend. Tim McDowell, Chief Plumbing Inspector with Shelby County told the students an apprentice can make $17 an hr. and a journeyman $20-25 hourly. There is a  Plumbing Program offered at CTEC that is sponsored by AL Home Builders Association. Ken Masters, Electrical Inspector for Shelby County, said that by 2020 there will be an extreme shortage with tens of thousands of jobs available in this field. He said it is a sad reality that they currently can't find enough people who are willing to learn, show up to work, and pass a drug test. Students learned that contractors will hire out of school because it's easier to teach someone who doesn't know anything about the specialty area than to go back and undo wrong practices.

In the area of Hospitality, one of the directors of the Hyatt/Wynfrey Hotel talked about all of the positions available from housekeeping, laundry, engineering's, sales, to banquets. She started at the front desk while going to The University of Alabama and worked her way up. The hotel enforces the 10 ft- 5 ft rule: 10 ft you smile- 5 ft you speak. The Wynfrey specializes in Indian weddings (that can last 4-5 days). They also recently acquired a new chef from Oregon and a pastry chef from California. You only need to be 18 to apply and it's recommended that you have a high school diploma.

Tim Mitchell, of Mitchell Cosmetology, offers classes in Alabaster during the day to those interested in going into the field of cosmetology.  One of the Belk Department Store buyers told the students that they hire part time workers as young as 16 yrs. old. There are numerous job opportunities available from security to sales. You can apply online at

Mrs. Brown, with Young Impression Childcare, informs the students about training required to become CDA certified. A Vet Tech Instructor from Jefferson State Community College talks about how students that enroll in her program begin with hands-on internships with a veterinarian before you even begin classes. All of their graduating techs are 100 percent employed.