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Denmark, North students hear from non-traditional professionals
Lanier tech
Students from North Forsyth and Denmark high schools attended “Dare to be Different,” an event at Lanier Technical College on Wednesday to give information about choosing careers in fields dominated by the other gender.

When it comes to deciding future career goals, local professionals challenged high school students to dare to be different.

On Wednesday, students from North Forsyth and Denmark high schools attended “Dare to be Different,” an event at Lanier Technical College to give information about choosing careers in fields dominated by the other gender.

“For the males, the research shows they’ll get promoted faster [in non-traditional careers],” said Joanne Tolleson, with the college, “and for the females, it shows when you compare a female auto tech to a female in just a traditional career field, they’re promoted 150 percent over just the regular female in the traditional field.”

Students heard from a panel of several speakers in non-traditional careers, including males in cosmetology, medical assisting and dental hygiene and females in auto maintenance and criminal justice.

“You’ll go to a dental office now and it’s all women, there are no males there,” said David McKeller, a dental hygienist. “So as a hygienist, it’s nice to go in and make it a little more balanced. A lot of patients like seeing a guy in the office, so there are a lot of advantages.”

Samantha Britton, with Billy Howell Ford Lincoln, said being in a non-traditional field can leave an impression on customers.

“Since we’re in a non-traditional field, they never forget your face,” she said. “They always come back to you, especially if you’re on-point with your job.”

Students were also told about the advantages of going to technical schools, dual-enrolling while still in high school and were given a tour of the campus.

 “The benefit was seeing that even though this is a future goal, it’s not that far in the future,” said Whitney Adams, a professional school counselor at North. “A lot of the programs that were mentioned, it’s a one- or two-year program and they can graduate with their high school diploma and that certification program and come out having a starting salary in the $40,000 (range).”