Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 16, 2013

Paddack’s career discovery leads off lunch

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — The discussion at Thursday’s Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce Legislative Lunch featured quite a few recaps of the past year, both national and statewide, but for State Sen. Susan Paddack, the biggest topic was bettering the future for today’s youth.

Other than a brief mention of recently finishing a special session to re-pass tort reform, Paddack turned most of her attention at the Garvin County Fair Building to mentioning the strengths of a program she’s proud to help continue to expand, “Career Discovery Day.” Started in Ada a few years ago after discovering how widespread the uncertainty many students shared in figuring out a future career path, she was proud to note it would be coming to communities like Pauls Valley in 2014.

“In this time of declining resources for our schools, I think it’s more important than ever before that we the citizens step up to the plate and do what we can,” said Paddack. “There’s a connection there and we’ve got to make it.”

Paddack noted how as she’s had discussions with potential employers and economic development experts in the state to bolster a future where there is both a reason for kids to stay in the state once they have a career and that those careers are still here when that time arrives.

She said many of today’s students lack even the basic skills to be a prepared workforce whether it was how to dress for an interview or what not to put on one’s facebook and as a result the program is starting as early as possible with 8th graders.

“They learned a lot more about engineering or architecture or education or construction or whatever it was,” said Paddack, speaking of the success she’s seen as the program grows. “Good government, good economic prosperity, everything comes down to what we do with our kids today.”

As was done in Pontotoc County where she is from, Paddack said it wouldn’t stop with that first-year through basic skills, as the day will involve increased levels of exposure to an area students are interested in.

The older kids, up through seniors in high school, will be able to shadow careers on site from law enforcement to working with technology like robots. She’s even recruited State Rep. Lisa J. Billy to help get things going and has not encountered one superintendent out of any of the school districts she’s visited with who aren’t eager to open up the opportunity to their students.

The community can be involved as well by volunteering their time on just about any level including being speakers to talk about the career field they are in currently. Paddack believes it all comes down to ensuring the good jobs are there for kids when the time comes by connecting all the available educational opportunities to the jobs they want to pursue.

“Everything comes down to what we can do for our kids today,” said Paddack. “We want all of you to have the opportunity to be involved... You know that what we do for our kids today sets a tone for how prosperous we are as a county and as a state later on.”

For more information Paddack can be contacted by calling her at (405) 521-5541, (580) 332-7607 or by e-mail at paddack@oksenate.gov