There's a whole world of opportunity out there that's just waiting to be seized.

A dozen Northern Lehigh High School students found that out through their recent participation in the Career Linking Academy.

The weeklong program is a career exploration program for high school students, according to Cindy Evans, youth program manager, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board.

"What we have found is that kids just don't know what to be," Evans said. "There's so many opportunities out there for the youth and the community."

Evans added "we wanted a way to help the youth know what it is they can do, the employability skills that are needed to be successful in the workplace. We talk to employers and say 'what is our community lacking from a workforce perspective', and a lot of times the answer is they just don't know what to be."

With so many occupations to choose from, Evans said it can be overwhelming for youth to decide what it is they want to be.

"Kids don't know how to interview, how to complete applications, how to complete a resume," she said. "We think that we have the knowledge about the job and labor market."

Evans noted that funds were made available from the Educational Improvement Tax Credit through the state Department of Community and Economic Development. She said Air Products gave a portion of their tax credit dollars and put it to the EITC through the Lehigh Valley Business Education Partnership.

One of the programs is the Career Linking Academy, said Evans, who added that the group "talked about the job and labor market, try to help them with a plan, look at their personalities, talked about colleges, and had guest speakers come in."

Over the course of the week, Evans said the students visited Miller Memorial Blood Bank, ABEC, Inc, The Da Vinci Science Center, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and the Career Linking Academy.

"Part of what they see is the careers out there," she said. "It's targeting industry clusters, so that we are preparing our students for careers out there in the Lehigh Valley."

Evans thanked Northern Lehigh High School for use of its library, and noted that transportation was provided by the district. In addition, she said the students received shirts, binders, a thumb drive, and a Career Pathways Plan.

Among the students who took part in the program were juniors Nate Ziegler, Tyler Reimer, Parker Smith, Laura Beltz, and Taryn Kemmerer, as well as seniors Austin Steigerwalt, Chance Trantham, Hayden Falenwolfe, Roberta Ehritz, Jessica Lear, Morgan Zellner, and Kelcie Kramer. Northern Lehigh High School instructors who participated were Michael Lehtonen, Rachel Reiter, Lauren Keglowitz, and Julie Eckhart.

Falenwolfe said he's glad he participated in the program, and encouraged fellow students to take part in it.

"I'm a lot better filling out applications," Falenwolfe said. "I wish we would have toured more colleges."