Students Get a Closer Look at High-Tech Careers - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Students Get a Closer Look at High-Tech Careers

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Four hundred middle and high school students interested in science and math stepped out of the classroom and into the world of high-tech careers in Charlottesville and Albemarle County Thursday.

Students split up into small groups and visited more than 70 businesses during the 2012 Tech Tour, organized by the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council.

"In the classroom we don't really get to see the real world and how what we're learning applies to businesses," said Albemarle High School student Katie Young, "And this is a chance to kind of see how that plays out."

Young and her classmates toured Crown Auto, and got to look under the hood of a high-tech BMW.

"We have a huge need for certified competent technicians in the industry and we look every single day," said John Petrylak of Crown Auto. 

Petrylak added that these tours give students a better idea of the options they have after graduation, like going to an apprenticeship program and becoming a technician, instead of going to a four-year college.

"Actually in the past few years, I've had a few students come through the tour and have contacted me afterwards, and they're current employees," said Petrylak.

At the biotechnology company Hemoshear, Monticello High School student Charlie Wolfe and his classmates from Monticello's Health & Medical Sciences Academy learned how to use pipettes.  He said that they were learning the importance of making exact measurements in the medical field, a lesson that he hopes will come in handy in the future.  Wolfe wants to be a surgeon, an oral surgeon or a dentist.

This field trip fits into the work the students are doing as a part of the Health & Medical Science Academy's curriculum.

"We're learning about the heart and the various other medical fields, so it turns out it just winds in really well with all of these tours," said Wolfe.

"There's a real shortage right now in this country for students that are being trained in science, technology, engineering and math," said Brian Wamhoff of Hemoshear.  "Hemoshear is a biotechnology research company, and as this industry grows here in Charlottesville we really need people skilled in these areas."

The tours included a wide range of businesses, including the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, University of Virginia Facilities, and Relay Foods.

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