I'm an Agriculture Mechanics Teacher. So naturally I brought students along. These were students that want to work and may go to college, but may not want to go immediately out of High School.
I almost feel bad for the others that came to the discussion panel as an audience member. The discussion turned in to a talk about, "how these companies need my students." The panel did a good job to talking about what they do and how they started, but each presenter really focus on my students and tried to convey the message that there are jobs waiting for them. Panel members talked about hiring employees and training them on the business' dollar. They talked about the skills needed and what has caused them to let an employee go. They talked about the employees on staff that went to college, didn't find a job and were hired by the company to be trained in something that was unrelated to their college diploma. Don't get me wrong, no panel member spoke poorly of college education, but instead echoed the same things I have been telling students for years. They echoed that it is better for the students to find their path, before choosing an education and how their path may not need to go to college but in a different direction.
It was vindicating to hear these professionals speak about their needs and be so inviting to my students. If you were there for some other reason, I felt bad that we may have taken away from the experience. Still I know that my students left that day inspired, motivated and feeling special.