Garfield County high school career expos switching hands to Youthentity
A popular spring and fall career expo that has invited high school students from across the Roaring Fork Valley and northwestern Colorado to learn about possible career paths is changing hands this spring.
The GlenX Career Expo was begun by GlenX founder Altai Chuluun seven years ago and has continued for the past five years under the direction of Jayne Poss.
The event has exposed thousands of students from a region stretching from Aspen to Meeker to a multitude of career possibilities, at the Glenwood Springs High School event in the spring, and at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in the fall.
Starting with the GSHS event on March 21, however, the networking-style Career Expo will be under the direction of the Carbondale-based youth development nonprofit Youthentity.
“Together we built the GlenX Career Expo into an impactful experience and opportunity for our valley’s high school students,” Poss said in a news release referring to hers and Chaluun’s efforts.
Added Chaluun, “The mission of the GlenX Career Expo is to build a stronger, more vibrant community by connecting students to resources that will stimulate their awareness of opportunities and enable them to fulfill their career aspirations for successful futures.”
In passing the torch, he and Poss said they both felt that Youthentity, as a community leader in providing opportunities for career exploration and career development to high school students through its financial literacy and Career Academy programs, was the perfect fit.
“We are excited to expand on Jayne and Altai’s vision of the Career Expo,” said Greg Beachey, Youthentity Career Academy Program Director. “Our plan is to continue the excellent programs they have built, and to add new elements to future events.”
Beachey said they hope to include more hands-on, interactive features at the expos, and are working to develop a searchable website that students can access year-round to explore career paths.
“Students can explore some possible careers beforehand and better plan for the time while they are at the expo itself,” Beachey said in a separate interview. “This way there can be more directed student preparation time before they come.”
The website would allow students to take a work personality assessment and build a career profile that can help direct them to some possibilities once they’re at the expo, he said.
“They might find some career paths that they didn’t even know about,” he said.
At the expos, students can also look forward to not only speaking with industry professionals, but also to experiencing hands-on elements of those careers, Beachey said.
A coordinating mobile app will help students easily navigate the expo, connect with businesses that match their interests, and exchange contact info with potential employers, he also explained.
“This really fits well with what we do already,” Beachey added. “Youthentity is about preparing students for that next step in life, and so this is a natural step for us to take.
“Jayne and Altai have built something that’s pretty amazing, and we were honored that they thought of us and are looking forward to expanding on that.”
Chuluun launched the first event in 2015 at Glenwood Springs High School on the concept that high school students needed greater exposure to viable careers, whether that involves college, a trade school, technical training or industry certification, plus internship and apprenticeship opportunities.
“After two years of running the event, Chuluun found a like mind in Jayne Poss, who was working at Aspen Community Foundation at the time,” the Youthentity release states.
In addition to exposing students to a variety of broader career choices, she felt it was a chance for valley businesses to share what they have to offer locally.
The expos began in the Roaring Fork Valley and expanded to include Rifle, eventually growing to reach more than 2,500 high school students annually.
The Glenwood expo invites students from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, while the Rifle event caters to schools within Garfield Re-2 and District 16, including Liberty Classical Academy, as well as DeBeque and Meeker.
Youthentity’s Career Academy program offers area students the chance to learn about career paths in industries such as hospitality, health care, animal services and the building industry, including the popular ProStart culinary competitions for which it sponsors a team. For more information about the upcoming Youthentity Career Expos, contact Beachey at firstname.lastname@example.org, and for more information about Youthentity, visit Youthentity.org.
Post Independent interim Managing Editor and senior reporter John Stroud can be reached at email@example.com or at 970-384-9160.
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