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View videos of this event, which was funded by the Montgomery County Education and Workforce Partnership:

PART I  Futures Fair 2011

PART II  Futures Fair 2011

Students get a peek at possible futures 
By CRISSA SHOEMAKER DEBREE Staff Writer, Phillyburbs.com

Nearly four dozen organizations filled the Hatboro-Horsham High School gymnasium to introduce youngsters to career opportunities in their own backyards.

Hatboro-Horsham High School students got a glimpse of their possible futures Tuesday during the school’s second annual Futures Fair.

Nearly four dozen organizations filled the school’s gymnasium. They ranged from local businesses like Allegiance Technology and toymaker K’NEX Brands to the nonprofit homeless services provider Lamb Foundation and Drexel Smart House, a student-led program to create a “living laboratory” in an urban home.

All were there to introduce students to career opportunities in their own backyards; the theme of this year’s fair was “Making it Here.”

The Futures Fair is produced by the school district, the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation and the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s hard to know what’s here,” said event organizer Sue Fox, career education and work curriculum coordinator at Hatboro-Horsham High School. “Kids at this age know what their parents do, what their friends’ parents do. But they don’t understand how diverse this community is in terms of opportunity.”

Ed Macosky was hoping to convince at least some students to enter the information technology field. He’s a senior manager for Dell Boomi, a Berwyn technology company recently purchased by Dell.

The company, which develops the integration systems known as cloud technology, plans to hire another 30 people over the next year and more in the future as Dell expands its East Coast presence.

“It’s a certain skill-set we’re looking for,” Macosky said. “There are project managers and there are developers and coders. But no one in between.”

Tenth-grader Andrew Hildebrand left the fair with a stack of fliers from exhibitors like health food cafe Bryn & Dane’s of Horsham and the Horsham Athletic Club. He said he’s interested in following in his brothers’ footsteps and choosing a business career, but wanted to see what was out there.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m just looking around for now.”

Kathy Davis, a well-known illustrator and author, said most teens would have similar responses.

“I remember the kids being hungry for the knowledge about what’s next,” said Davis, a Horsham resident and former Hatboro-Horsham art teacher. “It’s very confusing at that age to know what you want to do next.”

Crissa Shoemaker DeBree can be reached at 215-345-3186 or cshoemaker@phillyBurbs.com. Follow her at twitter.com/BucksMontBiz.

Photography by Nancy Tirrell Paravano