|Having worked with Workforce Advantage Academy students during the 2012-2013 school year, Ebony Whitby, a senior recovery agent at Orlando Utilities Commission, had a clear understanding about students wanted for their final session: the opportunity to talk with a variety of professionals about how they succeed and tips for future success.
Erika Slater Carlock, a Walgreens pharmacist, kicked off the program, sharing with students what a pharmacist does in addition to dispensing medications in a retail store, such as conferring with physicians on the best dosing and selection of a medication. She also explained what it takes to become a pharmacist and the importance of a math, science and technology background before six years of college and how valued pharmacists are in the delivery of care.
Alicia Matheson, president of Matheson Global Consulting, discussed with students the advantages and disadvantages of owning a business, such as being able to set your own hours, but they will likely be long. She talked about the importance of planning research, creating a competitive advantage and networking.
Officer Larry Grice, a drug enforcement officer with the Orlando Police Department, shared with students how he became an officer, the amount of education needed and the enjoyment of doing something different every day.
Carlos Woody, OUC general counsel, discussed with students his path to a legal career and said the keys to success in succeeding in life is hard work, reading, writing and oral communication. He also cautioned that the decisions students make today can influence the options they will have later in life, explaining that a drug conviction will eliminate the possibility of becoming a lawyer. Woody called being an attorney an exciting career, with the best part being helping people find solutions to problems.
Computer engineer James Thomas, CEO of App Data Systems, discussed with students two types of computer engineering: infrastructure management, keeping servers and networks operating, and application development. He advised students to reach out to someone already in the field for help and then to listen to that person.
Technical Sgt. Rita M. Vitela, a U.S. Air Force Recruiter, described the types of jobs available in the military, requirements and education benefits.
Cheryl Smith, with Cox Media Group, owner of WFTV, described the excitement of working behind the scenes at a television station and echoed Woody’s thoughts about how decisions made at 18 can follow you for a life time. She called it a fun industry but a tough one.
Rafael Suazo, in the OUC bad debt and bankruptcy department, talked about his path to success and the challenges of collecting money that’s owed to a corporation.
Whitby closed the session with a summary and encouraged students to think about their choices during the summer break, make good ones and be ready to come back as seniors on the path to success.