Program connects high school students to career paths

FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) -- Businesses in Stephenson County and Freeport learn how to recruit the next generation of their workforce: high school students.

The Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce and CareerTEC hosted the Unite lunch and learn to connect employers with area schools.

The program encourages industry leaders to mentor students, so they can fill open positions with local talent once those students graduate.

The outreach coordinator says it's also about making young people aware of potential careers they might not have otherwise pursued.

"Some of our students just don't have the idea of, let's say health occupations. Sometimes they think nurses, doctors, nurses, doctors. They don't see the amazing amount of different areas where health careers can take them," said CareerTEC Community Outreach Coordinator Kathy Drake.

Drake said 85 businesses in the Freeport and Stephenson County area have joined the program since August.