The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Local Eighth-Graders Go Through the "Career Crunch"

Over 3,000 eighth-graders from Hamilton County and North Georgia schools learned about future job options at the third annual “Career Crunch: A Career Awareness Fair” recently. The program was co-hosted by The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Technical Community College and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

Representatives from approximately 80 area businesses and nonprofit organizations spoke with students about types of career opportunities and goals they can set to reach them. UTC officials from the College of Business Administration, Counseling and Career Planning Center, Legal Assistance Studies, the UTC Television Digital Media Studio, Department of Criminal Justice, Admissions and University Relations were on hand to answer students’ questions.

Occupational fields represented at the Career Crunch included arts/communications, science/technology, business/marketing, manufacture/construction/transportation, healthcare, human services and hospitality/tourism.

Laura Patterson, an eighth-grader at Red Bank Middle School, said the Career Crunch is helping her determine the steps she needs to take to prepare for college and eventually her long-term goal of becoming a lawyer.

"This has reinforced the fact that I need to finish high school and go to college,” Patterson said.

Karen McGuffee, assistant professor and coordinator of legal assistance studies at UTC, believes the experience was beneficial both for the students and business representatives. Local businesses and organizations learn what the future workforce will be looking for after graduating from college.

"This event is good exposure for students and the University,” McGuffee said. “It helps serve our mission towards being a metropolitan university.”