Career expo to inspire hundreds of Roaring Fork Valley students | PostIndependent.com

Career expo to inspire hundreds of Roaring Fork Valley students

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

Glenwood Springs High School student Forest Rappe, 17, talks with Billy Kirkland, Becky Wagner and Jessi Rochel about summer employment at the Carbondale Community and Recreation Center during a 2015 career fair.

When Patrick Keleher walked into his school gym for its last career fair, he immediately saw his fellow students embracing the opportunity before them.

"A lot of students were learning a lot more than what they would try to figure out on their own," said Keleher, a student at Roaring Fork High School.

Students from Aspen to Glenwood Springs will again have that opportunity during the Spring GlenX Career Expo, scheduled for March 6 at the Carbondale high school.

GlenX Founder and President Altai Chuluun can relate. He decided to launch the event four years ago after reflecting on his own high school experience.

"I had no clue as to what I was going to be doing," he said. "I thought this was something that needed to happen to connect kids to opportunities and potential career paths."

The spring event is the fifth installment, and it's steadily grown. That's in large part due to event manager Jayne Poss, Chuluun said. She saw potential to stretch beyond an average career fair. In addition to the expected business booths, the expos include a variety of speakers who present engaging ideas, meant to open the students' perspectives.

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The most recent event, held in Rifle during the fall, included 1,200 kids and more than 100 businesses. The March event is expected to draw 1,600 students and 140 businesses.

"This career expo is all about exploring, early, all the different career opportunities, to start planting those seeds," Poss said.

"They walk into the gymnasium, they see these hundreds of businesses there to talk to them about their career, they're a little bit like, 'Oh my gosh. Look at my community, they care about me. They care about my future,'" Poss said.

The event is designed to be fun and exploratory, Poss said. After the fall expo in Rifle, 60 percent of students said they had learned about career opportunities they hadn't previously considered.

That also creates openings for school career counselors. Following the career fair, a counselor may ask a student about the businesses he or she spoke with. The counselor could then use career interests to help a student determine courses for the remainder of his or her high school years.

"It's quite a process to figure out where to go and what to do," said keynote speaker Cristal Logan. She's the vice president and director of Aspen Community Programs for the Aspen Institute. "It's really an incremental process of figuring out what your interests are, what your aptitudes are and where you want to live."

Logan is eager to share the institute's youth programs with students, but she also has personal reasons to aid local students: She's a fourth-generation Basalt resident.

"I just love making sure our kids in the valley get these opportunities," she said.

Keleher said it's working: "There's going to be some struggles along the way," he said. "The career fair has showed me that they're there to help."

Details

GlenX Career Spring Expo

March 6, 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Students from Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs high schools are invited to learn about career opportunities from area professionals. The expo includes three keynote speakers:

8:45-9:30 a.m. – philanthropist Jim Calaway;

9:45-10:30 a.m – Aspen Institute Vice President Cristal Logan

10:45-11:30 a.m. – Dreamers Roadmap, CEO Sarahi Salamanca.

Shorter, 5-minute career talks will be interspersed. From 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., students can visit the booths of 140 businesses.

Roaring Fork High School, 2270 Colorado 133, Carbondale | glenxcareerexpo.com

On the web

See videos of past speakers and students at glenx.tv.