Hundreds of high school students and parents on March 11 attended a career expo designed to provide a glimpse into innovative and emerging career opportunities and the necessary training and education students will need to achieve them.
The “Emerging Careers for the Future: Career Opportunity Expo” at Norwalk High School, open to Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (NLMUSD) high school and adult school students, was a collaborative effort between the District’s College and Career Pathways Department and the office of U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez.
In opening remarks, Sánchez thanked everyone for attending and urged students to embrace the challenge to become pioneers of rising technology, including advanced nursing practices and alternative-fuel transportation.
“I want to thank Congresswoman Sánchez for providing this important resource for our families,” said NLMUSD Interim Superintendent Ginger Shattuck. “We hope this event helped open a meaningful dialogue between students and their parents about what students can do to achieve their goals for college and career.”
The expo presented students with information about a variety of industry sectors, including green technology, health and medicine and automotive technology. It featured representatives from the Rio Hondo College Nursing Program, FBI and Long Beach City College Department of Alternative Transportation.
Standing before a captive audience, representatives shared their personal paths toward successful careers and offered professional advice.
“Understand that your parents want you to reach one notch higher than they have,” said Steve Flores of the FBI. “Your future starts now. High school is such a fleeting moment in life. Be sure you are surrounding yourself with people who want you to succeed.”
After the panel discussion, attendees visited booths in the gymnasium to speak with individuals from more than 25 organizations representing trade unions, businesses and community college programs. The expo’s format concentrated on the career opportunities and training available to students to prepare them for college and career.
“Whether our graduates are going directly into college or into career training programs, these collaborative events present them with a unique opportunity to speak directly with professionals from these promising sectors and ask, ‘What skills do I need if I want to work in your industry?’” NLMUSD Board President Jesse Urquidi said. “We hope that by exposing our students to a variety of career paths, they will find what sparks their interest and learn how to prepare themselves for the goals that they set.”
NLMUSD offers a variety of career pathways that integrate rigorous academic and technical courses, including Arts, Media & Entertainment, Engineering and Design/Advanced Manufacturing, Computer Science, Business and Entrepreneurship, Education, Health Science and Medical Technology. Nationally recognized Project Lead the Way (PLTW) STEM programs are available in elementary, middle, and high schools.
Through their Linked Learning Initiative, students are offered a personally relevant, wholly engaging, rigorous academic and career-based curriculum with real-world professions.
“We are making it a priority that all of our students are able to gain and develop the skills necessary to be marketable and competitive in the global economy and this event was just one part of our larger efforts,” said Joanne Jung, NLMUSD Director of College and Career Pathways.
PHOTO: Students gather around U.S. Rep Linda Sánchez’s table to discuss student involvement in politics with a congressional staff member.