FONTANA, CA – Lines of students from across the Inland Empire anxiously awaited the opening of the Ontario Convention Center doors for the annual Inland Empire Regional College and Career Fair, as Fontana Unified School District kicked off a pair of consecutive college, career and recruitment fairs on Sept. 20.
Thousands of Fontana Unified students across all age groups, many accompanied by family members or school staffers, weighed numerous possibilities for their futures as they researched different college and career opportunities at the Regional College and Career Fair and the United College Action Network, Inc. (U-CAN) Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Recruitment Fair at the Colony High School Gymnasium on Sept. 21.
A.B. Miller High School senior Amira Shalabi walked into the Regional College and Career Fair looking to explore different college and career opportunities. She came in planning to enroll at a community college, but said her thinking changed when representatives from UC Berkeley encouraged her to apply.
“I came here because I wanted to look into different opportunities, I didn’t want to just lock myself into one thing and this helped open my mindset,” said Shalabi, who is interested in pursuing a career in psychology, real estate or ultrasound technology. “I was thinking of going to a community college but Berkeley told me they really want me there; I wouldn’t have thought that was an option for me.”
The Regional College and Career Fair, which first launched in 2019, was co-hosted by Fontana Unified and Chaffey Joint Union High School District this year. Fontana Unified has partnered with the U-CAN HBCU Recruitment Fair since 2013. More than 30 HBCUs participated in the event, offering students the opportunity to receive on-the-spot admissions and scholarship offers.
Students snagged complimentary tote bags as they entered that soon were filled with college pamphlets and free giveaways from more than 100 different booths over both days, staffed by college recruiters, local employers and the vast career technical education pathways within Fontana Unified. More than 80 colleges and universities from across the state and country were represented over both events, including Arizona State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino, Morehouse College, Oregon State, Spelman College and UCLA.
Representatives from local employers, law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, trade colleges and a local carpenters’ union were also on hand at the Regional College and Career Fair as students explored different career opportunities available right after high school.
The Regional College and Career Fair and U-CAN HBCU Recruitment Fair are collaborative educational efforts between multiple school districts and part of Fontana Unified School District’s efforts to boost college and career readiness by removing barriers and increasing access to information and financial support.
“It is great to see how these events have grown over the years,” Fontana Unified Director of College and Career Readiness Dr. Vernell Deslonde said. “We want to make sure we are hitting all the different areas of interest for our students with these events, whether those are community colleges, four-year universities, vocational or trade schools or different career opportunities.”
Fontana Unified transported students in buses to and from District school sites to both fairs. District counselors were also on hand at both events to help answer any questions on the college application process, different scholarship opportunities and the District’s CTE pathways.
“Events like these are essential to Fontana Unified empowering all of our students for their futures, whether they decide to continue their education or join the workforce,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said. “We hope our students left feeling inspired as they chart their own course toward success.”
FUSD_FAIRS1: Fontana High School students celebrate their professional goals at the Inland Empire Regional College and Career Fair on Sept. 20. Students had a chance to explore different college and career opportunities, as well as Fontana Unified’s career technical education pathways during the event.
FUSD_FAIRS2: Students from across the Inland Empire connected with representatives from colleges and universities across the state and country, local employers, trade colleges and more at the Regional College and Career Fair on Sept. 20 and United College Action Network, Inc. (U-CAN) Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Recruitment Fair on Sept. 21.
FUSD_FAIRS3: An A.B. Miller High School student guides an Alder Middle School student through a flight simulator and gives background on A.B. Miller’s aviation career technical educational pathway during the Inland Empire Regional College and Career Fair on Sept. 20.