Nash Community College and Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools jointly hosted the tenth annual Career and Technical Education Open House Showcase on Tuesday in the Business & Industry Center at the college.

Nash Community College works with the school district to help provide much of the Career and Technical Education offered in the school district. The event featured roughly 78 stations where students could explore career options, programs offered at NCC and internships and job opportunities available through local industry partners.

Chad Thompson, executive director of secondary education and CTE for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, now heads the CTE program for the school district.

‘’We have really tried to incorporate a lot of hands-on activities at this event,” Thompson said. “This allows students to better understand what that trade can do from a hands-on perspective.”

One of the main goals of the CTE Showcase is to expose students and their families to different career options and help them learn more about the pathways available to pursue those careers.

“The CTE showcase introduces students to the options they have, starting in high schools, to what they can do at Nash Community College (and) to what the businesses and industries in this area have to offer,” Thompson said.

Students in grades 5 to 12 and their parents were invited to the event.

“With our new legislation, we have a fifth-grade aspect,” Thompson said. “But we want to start this early anyway because it has been our plan to let our students know what we have to offer in middle school and high school. We want them to have those options in their head so once they get to high school, they are ready to go.”

Nash Community College set up several stations at the event allowing students to explore activities related to various courses and programs offered at the college. Some of these stations included automotive service technology, electronics engineering technology, informational technology and programming, veterinary technology and culinary arts.

Matthew Booth was at the Associate of Engineering station demonstrating a roller coaster made by NCC students.

Some of the local organizations represented at the event included the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant and Edwards Inc. in Spring Hope.

The station for Edwards Inc. was strategically located next to an NCC booth that allowed students to try out a virtual welder.

Joshua Evernham, a seventh-grade student, tried his hand at welding.

“I really like this event. I liked trying out the welder,” Evernham said.

While Joshua Evernham still is considering his future career options, his older brother Daniel is zoning in on a career in culinary arts.

“I might come to Nash Community College for their culinary arts program. I don’t know yet. But I would like to open my own restaurant someday,” Daniel Evernham said.

Joel Lee, engineering manager at Edwards Inc., said his company hires a lot of people who come to train in welding at NCC.

“We are welders and fabricators,” Lee said. “We hire a lot of people from all the community colleges, but with Nash being so close to us, we keep six to 10 interns in our shop all the time and we hire many of them.”

Lee said the relationship with NCC works well for his company.

“Nash teaches them how to weld; we teach them how to be welders. And we pay them,” Lee said.