Nashville 9th Graders Chart Path to College and Careers

6th Annual My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair Helps High School Freshmen Learn Firsthand from Future Employers

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The exhibit floor of the Music City Center buzzed with excitement and nervous energy last week as more than 7,000 Davidson County 9th graders jammed the convention hall to ask questions of business and technology companies, public utilities, police and fire agencies, and dozens of potential employers about the skills necessary to make it to college or a good career. The 6th annual My Future. My Way. Career Exploration Fair was hosted by Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and was sponsored for the 4th consecutive year by Shoney’s and included participation by Shoney’s Chairman and CEO David Davoudpour.

“Shoney’s has made giving back to the community a hallmark of our company’s culture,” said Mr. Davoudpour. “We truly believe investing our time and energy in these young people will help them see a path forward in their education and allow them to make the connection between achieving in school and success in the work.”

Nearly one hundred Middle Tennessee employers participated in the Career Exploration Fair. Mr. Davoudpour was joined by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register in awarding the Best in Show award to those companies making up the Business, Marketing, and Information Technology sector of the exhibit hall displays.

“It takes lots of planning and coordination to make the Career Exploration Fair a true learning experience for these students,” said Mayor Dean. “We’re grateful for the commitment being made by Shoney’s, Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of companies exhibiting at the fair.”

“Throughout the day, all across the exhibit hall, we see thousands of conversations between professionals and young students which may spark an interest or cause a young person to see themselves in a new career role,” said Dr. Register. “Our hope is that these interactions will help the students understand that achieving in the classroom pays off in the long run.”

“Our research shows that Middle Tennessee could be seeing shortages of works in some business sectors as early as 2016,” said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “If our region is to continue along its path of strong growth, we need to reach out to young people and let them know that viable college and career paths are waiting for them.”

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