As part of a statewide effort to get teenagers thinking about their futures, local businesses will give presentations at the Ardmore Convention Center today.
It’s one of 46 similar events across the state created for Oklahoma Career Exposure week, an Oklahoma Works event created this year. Partners in Education, an initiative from the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, organized the Ardmore event.
PIE director Cynthia Pickens said high school juniors from Ardmore, Plainview, Lone Grove and Springer will meet employees who will give them an idea of what their careers entail.
“What I’ve learned is that young people think they know what they’re going to do, and maybe 25 percent find something at that age and stick with it, but some don’t really know,” Pickens said. “We just want them to be successful post-high school.”
 The event begins at 9 a.m. with Mercy Hospital, Valero Ardmore Refinery, Southern Tech, Chick Fil A, Dollar General, Michelin, Courtyard Marriott, and the Chickasaw Nation attending. Pickens said she hopes events like this will give teenagers a starting point if nothing else.
“What we’re trying to do is give them some answers,” Pickens said. “This will help them make more informed decisions.”
Pickens took over as the director of Partners In Education this past spring. She said she’s been looking at ways to bolster their efforts by holding more events and introducing aptitude surveys that give students career suggestions based on their skills.
Pickens said students would take the surveys as middle-schoolers, have the chance to shadow professionals in different fields, and then learn how to write resumes as they near graduation.
“We’re with them from cradle to career,” Pickens said. “I’m planning to have a larger career and education fair in February of next year.”