Keeping talent close to home

Krystle Wagner • Oct 17, 2018 at 9:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Professionals from a variety of career fields on Tuesday helped local high school students learn about career opportunities available in or near their hometown.

About 30 businesses spoke with students from Central, Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Allendale high schools during the 11th annual Boomerang event. It took place in Grand Haven High School’s Field House.

Nancy Manglos, the director of talent and leadership development for the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg, said they want to provide students with resources to help them make decisions about their future. With a talent shortage, she said companies are looking for opportunities to engage with students.

Manglos said she was pleased with the attendance and noted that some of the businesses come every year.

“They find value in it,” she said.

The students had the chance to operate robots at the GHSP table.

“It was cool to see the technology and how they use it,” GHHS student Adam Glasser said.

Glasser, 17, said he also had a “good conversation” with individuals from the water treatment plant about the careers available there. After high school, he plans to study mechanical engineering at either Michigan State University or Michigan Technological University.

At the North Ottawa Community Health System booth, Whitney Zenker showed some of the equipment she uses when she goes on a call as a paramedic. Also a firefighter for Spring Lake Township, Zenker said she always had an interest in the medical field and helping people.

Zenker, a 2013 Spring Lake High School graduate, said she likes Boomerang because it helps students begin planning for what they would like to do after high school.

The students also had a chance to try out Herman Miller’s spun chair and look at different samples and fabrics.

Paula Perkins, the talent acquisition manager for Herman Miller, said seniors are beginning to figure out the next step in their lives, and Boomerang is a chance for them to see that the company offers apprenticeships and internships, and has opportunities in different fields such as marketing, sales, human resources and manufacturing.

GHHS student Alex Kapala said he liked learning about the opportunities available to him in West Michigan.

“There’s a lot more than you think,” he said.

Carson O’Connell said he enjoyed speaking with Brilliance Publishing because they have the same interests. O’Connell, 18, said he’s interested in pursuing a future in digital design.

O’Connell said he was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with professionals.

“I appreciate it,” he said.

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