Middle Schoolers Get Glimpse of the Future at Career Day

Sprint Waste Services President Dave Nelson was a speaker earlier this month at the Sugar Land Middle School Career Day, a day for eighth graders to gather information about career opportunities available to them upon graduation as well as the education and training required to compete for those jobs.

More than 400 students and participated in the annual event, beginning with a welcome from the principal of Kempner High School, where most of the students will attend next year. The agenda included break-out session speakers from Houston-area companies who gave 25-minute presentations on their professions, as well as a career fair where companies, vendors and organizations showcased their businesses and interacted with the students.

Kimberly Seright, the school’s eighth grade counselor and coordinator of the event, said the goal with career day was to introduce different career options to the students, make the college and technical/trade environments more accessible and comfortable, and get the students to begin thinking about lines of work they might someday be interested in. This year’s session speakers included attorneys, health professionals, engineers, law enforcement officers, retail managers, bankers and salespeople.

Nelson’s talk focused on the incredible opportunities today’s middle schoolers will have as the business world and technology continue to evolve. “According to a recent Dell study, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t even exist today,” Nelson said. “That means these students will have amazing opportunities as long as they adapt and learn, work hard, have a good attitude, get along with people, and take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.”

A graduate of the University of Texas, Nelson encouraged the students to get a strong education and training in their chosen fields, but he also reminded them that good jobs and high-paying positions can be earned without a four-year college degree, particularly with anticipated shortages in the manufacturing sector and skilled trades. Nelson pointed out Sprint Waste Services regularly seeks to hire well-trained truck drivers, mechanics, welders and information technology technicians to fill out its growing workforce across the Gulf Coast.

 And while it may be a few years before the middle schoolers start applying for colleges, Nelson said he was happy to give the students his perspective. “It’s never too soon for students to start thinking about what they may want to do ‘when they grow up,’” he said. “However, I also wanted to emphasize to them that the world will be changing fast—so continuous learning and adapting to change will be critical for their success.”