McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 3, 2013

Annual Choctaw Career Expo opens in McAlester

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — Workers with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma have been busy laying out paths — sometimes literally — to help job-seekers and students find a new roadway to success during the career development expo in McAlester.

On Tuesday, Choctaw Career Development workers Stacy Hallmark and Deidre Inselman were rolling out a linoleum-type material designed to resemble a natural stone roadway leading to booths inside the expo center.

It’s part of the event’s focus on traditional Choctaw culture, including taking its name from the theme “Pathways to Success, A Choctaw Tradition!” The career development exposition was set to run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.

Organizers welcomed everyone to participate, with no registration required and no admission charged.

An estimated 2,000 individuals attended the event last year and organizers such as Kelli Ostman, marketing coordinator for Career Development with the Choctaw Nation, expected just as many this year.

The goal is direct.

“We’re bringing job opportunities to the area — not just McAlester, but southeastern Oklahoma,” Ostman said.

Up to 30 employers were expected to be “hiring on the spot,” she said, while others were accepting applications.

Approximately 1,100 high school juniors and seniors were expected to participate.

Several workshops were planned, including workshops on resumes and dressing for success, along with a lab on on-line applications.

“There will be an application lab because so many employers now do on-line applications,” Ostman said.

She hopes the career expo will help not only those seeking jobs, but students who are still trying to determine a career path as well.

“When you’re a junior or senior in high school, you don’t realize what’s out there,” she said.

A few of the companies participating include Enogex, Tyson, Air Evac, the state of Oklahoma, Kelworth Trucking, and Choctaw Casinos.

Among the education facilities expected to participate were the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Oklahoma City University and the Kiamichi Technology Center.

Grant Baldwin, of Springfield, Mo., was set to serve as featured speaker for the event. He has been called a leading expert in helping students prepare for life after high school.

Focus of the Career Development Expo is in four areas, according to Ostman: Health care, manufacturing, energy and transportation.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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