Young Professionals of the 21st Century

February 24, 2014

More than 100 years ago, the city was built by a network of small business entrepreneurs, and the 21st century offers opportunities in self-employment for those who will be tomorrow’s professionals.

Thirty-eight students in 8th through 12th grades from Hammond High, Morton High, Gavit Junior/Senior High School and the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology learned how to chart their successful careers at the “Young Professional of the 21st Century – Part 1” program at the Hammond INnovation Center.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. greeted the students and told them about the opportunities available in such fields as health care, where Franciscan St. Margaret has had a presence for 100 years.

After polling students about what kinds of careers they were interested in, INnovation Center business consultant Sue Anderson discussed various hot careers for the future. Those include solar energy, technology of all kinds and health care careers such as physical therapist and sports medicine.

Students received hands-on experience with Onet, software that provides career plan development.

Social media plays a large part in students’ lives, said Lourdes Castellanos, owner of Creative Solutionz Inc. Castellanos explained the responsibilities involved in using social media.

“Technology, while convenient, is also a responsibility that can directly affect (students’) futures. Social networking is viewed by many as simply fun and an outlet to do and say what they want; however, businesses are viewing it much more seriously and utilizing that information to assess potential employees,” Castellanos said.

A walking tour of downtown Hammond introduced the students to the many historic buildings and how they have been repurposed.

“We developed the walking tour and a booklet to take with them,” said Sue Anderson, a business consultant at the Hammond INnovation Center, a technology business incubator that operates under the leadership of the Hammond Development Corp.

Art Russell, vice president at Centier Bank, explain the bank’s history and the benefits of entrepreneurship. It is as important now as it was 118 years ago when Henry Schrage opened his bank in Whiting, Russell said.

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