Workforce Readiness Expo teaches students to think outside the box

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[April 26, 2014]     Send a link to a friend  Share

Wednesday morning, seniors from Hartsburg-Emden, Lincoln and Mount Pulaski high schools gathered at Lincoln Christian Church for the annual Workforce Readiness Expo. The expo is put on each year by the Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce.

The day began with welcoming comments from chamber director Andi Hake and an address from keynote speaker Patrick Doolin.

Doolin, the owner of Integrity Data in Lincoln, talked to the kids about his career choices and how he followed a desire to work with numbers and also to think up new and innovative ideas. He talked about how some ideas are good and some aren't, but you don't know until you try them out. Doolin punctuated this by telling a story of when he was a kid, he and his brother mounted a rocket engine on a model car and set it off just to see what would happen. That story didn't end well for the two brothers, as their childhood home ended up with an ugly black burn mark on the white siding. But they would not have known it was a bad idea had they not tried it.

Doolin also talked about a good idea, one that many said was a crazy idea: the restoration of the Scully Building. He talked about the skepticism of some who said trying to make the burned-out building viable again was going to be an insurmountable task. In the end, though, it was a good idea. It took a lot of work and dedication, but Doolin is quite pleased that he was able to save and make useful again a historic building that was important to his town.

He spoke about his decision to build his successful business in Lincoln. He said he deals with companies all around the world and works with such well-known firms as Microsoft, and he does it all from his hometown. He stressed there is opportunity in Lincoln and Logan County for young minds and new ideas.

He also acknowledged that sometimes you have to leave home in order to come home, and he said that he did that, but in the end he came back to what he knew and loved. He talked about his love for the small town, hometown feel and said his commute to work each day is literally a "walk in the park," and his worries of traffic congestion involve how many squirrels will be running around in that park.

In the end, he told the group that their success can happen in Lincoln, and some of the reasons are that home is the place where people will believe in them, encourage them and want to see them succeed.

After the keynote, Hake directed the students to break out into their individual workshop sessions. In addition to the keynote, there were four sessions, with the day ending in a student panel session.

Pictures by Nila Smith



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