A steady stream of people poured into the French Field House on the Ohio State University campus Saturday morning.
But it wasn’t for a track and field competition.
High school students were set to network with more than a dozen historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and up to 50 employers at Battelle College, Career & Community Fair 2021.
The event was part of the Classic for Columbus, a week of programming, activities and a football game between Central State University and Kentucky State University at Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Which companies were present at the show?
The building was alive with music and conversation as people hopped to booths decorated with colorful logos. PNC Bank, Columbus Division of Fire, and Quantum Health were just a handful of companies there. Students won a free ticket to the football match if they received a passport stamped by six schools or businesses.
A trio of high school students from Lima Senior High School in northwest Ohio were there to examine potential options for their college careers.
“It’s really cool. I’m learning a lot of information,” said Emonie Young, a 15-year-old sophomore who wants to study nursing. She said she wanted to learn more about the condition. central.
“I think of that one too,” said her best friend Honesty Baker, also a 15-year-old sophomore who wants to be a traveling nurse. Baker said she learned that it was possible to take a free State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) course from one of the companies at the fair.
Anastazja Kirklen, a 16-year-old junior interested in studying child psychology, also wants to attend an HBCU. But she would rather get out of state, “just to be around something different,” she said.
How many people attended the career fair?
The fair was presented by Nationwide, Huntington Bancshares, the City of Columbus, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and Revolution Mortgage. More than 500 students from the City of Columbus schools have registered for the fair, according to James Ragland, who is on the City of Columbus Schools Education Council.
“It’s a dream come true for us,” said Ragland, who was in attendance at Saturday’s event. “We figured they were already thinking about college, but a lot of our students just needed a little more of a (push) to get over the bump with it. If we can catch them now, inspire them and lead them to this college path, that’s really good for us.
Ragland said he remembered attending the Classic for Columbus decades ago at the since demolished Cooper Stadium in Franklinton. The Classic continued to operate in different parts of the state, but made a brief hiatus in recent years.
Classic board member Leonard Hubert said he was excited to help bring the event back to Columbus.
“Whenever you talk about an HBCU Classic, everyone thinks of football,” he said. “Football is a central part of that, but one of the things we talked about was the importance of exposing young people to what an HBCU is.”
How a church in North Linden got involved in the job fair
The new Salem Baptist Church in North Linden was another college fair, career and community partner.
“Every day we try to wake up and understand how the church can use its resources and relationships to create a connected community,” said Adam Troy, engagement manager for the Community of Caring Development Foundation, the branch church nonprofit.
“Here, in this context, it’s very enriching. We have a number of students here who are very successful but who have just never been introduced to the HBCU experience. Today it is about access and exposure.
Adam Troy and his brother Eric both attended Morehouse College, an Atlanta HBCU.
Eric Troy, founder and CEO of Eficionado, a brand management company, said it was important to have OSU as a partner.
“We have so many people of color who don’t even see the Ohio State campus,” he said. “And so having that kind of exposure is pretty cool.”
Representatives from the rival Central State and Kentucky State were also on hand to speak with the students.
“We have a lot of exciting things going on,” said Lauren Young, registration specialist at Central State. “We have a brand new president. He has a lot of great incentives for students. Right now we have free books for all students all year round. We have a lot of different scholarships available, and today we are just here to spread this news and beat KSU.
KSU recruiter and 2019 graduate Alona Davidson said it was important to give students the opportunity to “spread their wings” beyond Ohio.
“When you go to K-State it feels like stepping into a family barbecue,” she said. “You can be fully yourself without judgment or prejudice.”
As a sponsor of the event, Battelle’s goal was to “build upon” the HBCU community, according to chief information officer David White.
“We are working really hard to understand what this means and how we can leverage it to help bring more diversity to the company,” he said. “We really want to build this next generation of scientists. We’re looking at the workforce that we have today, and we’re seeing an under-representation of people of color. And so we’re really trying to figure out, ‘How do you solve it? you have this problem? ”And part of it comes back to universities.