BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell-Statesville Schools’ middle and high school students are getting exposed to high-tech and clean-energy career opportunities.
And they don’t have to travel far to see what jobs could be available to them in the near future.
Students and their parents met with PerScreening founder and CEO John Bradford for a tour of PetScreening in Mooresville Wednesday morning.
Bradford welcomed the group inside the renovated Merino Mill office space with doughnuts and gave each guest a mini small plush dog toy.
“We’re a tech company — a pet tech company,” Bradford said. “We screen pets for the apartment industry. If you are moving into an apartment, there’s a chance that your landlord uses our pet services to screen your pet.”
PetScreening helps streamline assistance animal processes and implement pet policies that allow residential and commercial companies to become more pet-inclusive.
Bradford began the company by himself in a small office. Today, PetScreening has 70 employees and 25 full-time developers.
“There is no one like us. We’re unique,” Bradford said.
Some dog breeds are traditionally not allowed in apartments because they have a bad reputation.
“I felt like, ‘Well, there has to be a better way. All dogs can bite, even little tiny dogs. I had a different philosophy on pets. I thought what if we could show data and a score for every pet and its owner that those dogs could be in apartments,” Bradford said.
Using information reported by the pet owner, the company gives each pet a FIDO score, which is based on photos, veterinarian records, whether or not the pet has bit another animal and other information.
The information is being used by rental companies across the country.
“We have millions of apartments and rental houses, student housing, affordable family housing and multi-housing that use our services in all 50 states,” Bradford said.
Employees who work in the Mooresville office are allowed to bring their pets to work. Each employee has a “yard space,” which incudes s small privacy fence cubicle where they work.
The office also boasts a camper, picnic tables and other amenities to make their indoor office space feel like its outdoors.
Bradford told students that he places great weight on applicants’ attitudes during the hiring process. He advised the students to conduct research about their prospective employers before interviewing.
The I-SS students also visited Greenworks, an industry leader in battery-powered outdoor power tools for consumers and landscaping professionals. The company is also located in Merino Mill in Mooresville.
I-SS Executive Director of Industry, Trade and Business Development Todd Williams said that students have been able to tour a variety of businesses through a grant this summer.
“What this is about is career awareness. So we’ve invited students and their parents, middle through high school, to make them aware of the good opportunities and jobs that are in Iredell County,” Williams said.
“The ultimate goal is that they will want to stay and work in Iredell County,” he added.
I-SS Career Development Coordinator for Middle School Programs Juli Tipton said that the career exploration provides an opportunity for students to see firsthand companies that will hire them out of high school. Some offer tuition reimbursement for college and other perks.
“It’s a great way to give them a way to pay for college and further their education beside going the traditional route that involves students taking out loans,” Tipton said.
Career Technical Education will host additional programs for students and their families throughout the upcoming school year and continue efforts to let students know that there are other opportunities out there.