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, N.J.—More than 150 students from local high schools attended the first Mercer County Youth Symposium, held Oct. 8, 2013, at the Conference Center at Mercer County Community College.

The event, hosted by the Youth Investment Council of the County’s Workforce Investment Board, was aimed at informing high school juniors and seniors about employment opportunities in seven growth sectors as identified by the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Those growth sectors are represented by “talent networks” that the DLWD established in 2011 to focus on the specific needs of key industries in New Jersey.

“This symposium provided an excellent opportunity for our high school students to get valuable information that can help them make educated decisions about career paths,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “The industries they learned about account for more than half of New Jersey’s workers, and more than two-thirds of the wages paid in this state.”

Maurice L. Coleman, senior vice president and New York market manager at Bank of America, delivered a keynote address that focused on resilience, vision and discipline. Students heard a presentation by Padma Arvind, director of the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Network based at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations, and then split up into groups to hear classroom presentations by the talent network coordinators for advanced manufacturing; financial services; hospitality and tourism; life sciences; technology and entrepreneurship; and transportation, logistics and distribution. The symposium provided students with information such as educational requirements, salaries, employer expectations, and opportunities for advancement in those fields.

Students from the following Mercer County high schools attended the Youth Symposium: Hamilton West, Hightstown, Hopewell Valley, Lawrence, Mercer County Technical, Mercer High School, Robbinsville, Steinert, Trenton Central, Trenton High West and Daylight/Twilight; and West Windsor-Plainsboro North.