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JA Inspire event expands career horizons for Ashland County students

When Isaac Coffy is working as a DJ, he tries to schedule songs in a logical manner that enhances the energy of an event.

Coffy, owner of an Ashland production company called OHC Events, started his first business after dropping out of college. That business was Coffy Creations, where he puts his photography skills to use.

He opened OHC Events more recently, but said with entrepreneurship, the key to success lies in finding a way to stand out from the crowd.

Coffy has presented at several career fairs. But on Tuesday morning, he set up his DJ booth for students to interact at Ashland’s first Junior Achievement Inspire event.

The event brought together more than 30 local companies who had the opportunity to demonstrate the jobs available to high school students. They represented several career clusters, from agriculture and environmental science, to education and the trades.

“I love inspiring kids to explore and then figure out the path to get there,” Coffy said.

That’s the whole point of Junior Achievement’s event, according to Junior Achievement’s chief operating officer Josh Lehman.

“Students don’t know what’s outside their sphere of experience,” Lehman said. “If you don’t even know an opportunity exists, you don’t know that you can strive for it.”

Lehman said for students, the event opens their perspectives to what jobs are available — and, specifically, what jobs are available in the area.

Cameo Carey, who runs Ashland Area Economic Development and helped bring the event to Ashland, said students from Northwestern, Mapleton, Loudonville and Ashland High attended.

In total, around 250 students learned about career options Tuesday.

The bottom line

Students could try their hand at DJing with Coffy, simulate flying a plane, select outfits for different job interviews, learn to intubate a patient and more at the event.

Lehman said each student was given a Bingo card and encouraged to fill it out as they engaged with different companies.

For Pipper Weidinger, a junior at Mapleton High School, the future is an open book. She’s not positive yet what she wants to do.

But, the Junior Achievement Inspire event “made it even more complicated,” Weidinger said.

“It all made me feel intrigued, because even if it wasn’t a job I thought was cool, they made it sound like the coolest job ever,” she said.

Her favorite exhibit of the day was the EMT and nursing booth, the same as her peer, Kylee Beecher.

Beecher also doesn’t know what she wants to do in the future, but said after visiting that booth, it could be something she’s interested in pursuing. She likes the idea of getting to help people in her career field.

Both Beecher and Weidinger said they enjoyed the Junior Achievement Inspire event.

They’d attended other career fairs, but enjoyed the hands-on nature of this one. Weidinger said she hopes it returns in the future.

Lehman, Junior Achievement’s COO, said the event will return next year.

He hopes it will grow. The goal is to attract 1,000 students in Ashland County to next year’s Inspire event.


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