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DeKalb County students explore career paths during 6th Heavy Metal Tour

October 19, 2018

SYCAMORE – Sycamore High School junior Frances Helton said she always has been a music lover – so much so that her family and friends have encouraged her to pursue job or internship opportunities with companies that work behind the scenes of those types of shows.

After touring Upstaging Inc., 821 Park Ave., with her classmates and learning more about what the company does, including lighting for shows of all sizes, Helton plans on applying for a job or internship.

“This definitely lived up to the hype,” Helton, 17, of Sycamore said.

More than a dozen Sycamore High School students toured the lighting, trucking and production services business Friday as part of the countywide Heavy Metal Tour.

Gene Fogle, industrial workforce coordinator for the DeKalb Ogle Workforce Development Consortium through the DeKalb County Economic Development Coorporation, said more than 100 students from DeKalb High School, Sycamore High School, Genoa-Kingston High School and Rochelle Township High School spent the day Friday touring local businesses to learn more about careers within trades, engineering and business. Other businesses that students toured in DeKalb County included Ideal Industries, 3M, CST Industries, Adient and Dawn Equipment Company.

Fogle said the tour’s goal is to reach out to kids about what interests them or what they’ve heard about. He said involving local businesses such as Upstaging really helps students see that they can get involved in stage and lighting effects for touring groups that travel all over the world.

“That immediately gets a kid interested,” Fogle said.

Fogle said the tour started six years ago in partnership with Kishwaukee College to give students more exposure about what careers they could get into and what educational or apprenticeship opportunities may exist to better their chances for those kinds of jobs. He said students may be a little more familiar with police and fire careers along with becoming a doctor, for example, but they might know much about other careers beyond that, including within the business world.

“Hopefully, we can better connect the dots between them and jobs and what’s required,” Fogle said.