By Debbie Adams
The non-profit Greater Roanoke Workforce Development Board hosted Career Quest for seventh
grade students in the region on Sept. 26 and 27, and the Town of Vinton was there to make
themselves known to possible future employees.
Career Quest was held at the Berglund Center, hosted by Roanoke County, the Town of Vinton,
Roanoke City, the City of Covington, Botetourt County, Carol Joy Creative, Medeco, WestRock,
Carilion Clinic, Altec, and the Branch Group.
Over 3,500 excited and energetic students were expected to visit Career Quest over the course of
the two-day event, dropped off by buses from their schools. School systems represented included
Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Botetourt County, Craig County, Montgomery County, Franklin
County, Floyd County, the City of Covington, and the City of Salem.
Morgan Romeo, a William Byrd graduate, who is the Executive Director of the Greater Roanoke
Workforce Development Board, says that the purpose of Career Quest is to help middle school
students explore career options available here in the Roanoke Valley, “to see what career options
are here in their backyards.” Hopefully, once they realize what is available, they will remain here
after graduation and help local businesses and the local economy to thrive.
From 55 to 60 local businesses, colleges, schools, and organizations were represented at this year’s Career Quest—from the healthcare, transportation, information and technology, construction, finance, and manufacturing
industries and more.
Some of the more well-known employers were the Western Virginia Water
Authority, Carilion, Altec, Freedom First, VDOT, TAP, Roanoke County Library, Friendship,
Medeco, Joi Neuron, Rivermont, James Madison University, Virginia Western Community College, Goodwill, Yokohama, Stroke of Genius, Quest, Mersen, WestRock, Varney, Servpro, Wabtec, the SPCA, BSI, Eldon, Branch, Genesis, DS Smith, Wurth, OCC, MAAG, Star Flight, and Kroger, in addition to the Town of Vinton.
Many of the businesses and organizations had hands-on activities to engage student interest.
The Town of Vinton brought along their new Military Appreciation Vehicle for students to explore,
supervised by Officer Jesse Dibble.
Vinton’s Economic Specialist Marshall Stanley helped students build model cities while
discussing what it takes to make up a local economy.
Finance Director Andrew Keen taught students how to write checks.
Julie Tucei, with Planning and Zoning, explained the workings of the stormwater system in a Wheel of Fortune game format.
Public Works employees Billy Robb and Keith Childress allowed students to explore (climb on)
some of the town’s construction equipment; Resource Officer Will Holland helped students don police apparel. Amanda Payne and Caroline Loveland from the Vinton War Memorial demonstrated and taught hospitality skills by folding dinner napkins.
The Town of Vinton has participated in Career Quest in the past, but this year they expanded
their efforts to include representatives from all departments.
Vinton Human Resources and Risk Management Director Donna Collins said that their goal was
to “expose seventh graders to the public sector.”