(RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TENN.) – Hundreds of students attended the College and Career Planning Night hosted by Rutherford County Schools and Rutherford Works on April 18, 2024. The comprehensive event, held at Lane Agri-Park Community Center, was open to all county school students and families who were interested in learning about college options, local careers, the armed forces, and financial planning resources.

Colleges across the Southeast shared insights into majors, school culture, and financial aid, while employers from Middle Tennessee showcased job opportunities and career pathways. Local training institutions and resource agencies were also on hand to provide information on financial resources, workforce grants and training programs. In total, 98 vendors participated in the event.

“Students’ lives are just beginning once they exit our doors, and we want to provide them with meaningful opportunities to explore their interests and aspirations after high school,” stated Christine Bryan, secondary schools counselor supervisor at Rutherford County Schools.

According to students and parents, one of the highlights of the night was the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with college recruiters and employers. Students were able to engage directly with representatives, gaining firsthand knowledge about college opportunities and career options they hadn’t previously considered.

“It was really cool to hear about the programs in person. I can look up stuff on the Internet or their website, of course, but asking specific questions to the person here at the event was very helpful,” stated Annelyn Trail, a Rutherford County Schools student.

Several vendors showcased hands-on demonstrations, including VR headsets, robots, electrical boards, and training props, to give students a glimpse into what local careers entail. Rutherford Works, the economic and workforce development branch of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, brought VR career exploration headsets for students to try. This fall, they plan to pilot the headsets inside local classrooms.

“We are thrilled with the turnout and enthusiasm shown by both students and families at the College and Career Planning Night,” said Greg Jones, senior vice president of education and workforce development at Rutherford Works. “This program is part of our larger commitment to providing students and families with resources to make informed decisions about educational and career pathways.”

About the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and Rutherford Works
The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing leadership to help create the best possible place in which to operate business, while enhancing the region as a desirable place to live, work and visit, through a wide variety of programs and initiatives. Rutherford Works efforts focus on bringing businesses and education partners together to ensure a strong and diverse economy through education and workforce development.