Youthentity column: GlenX Career Expo — strategies for students to get the most out of next week’s high school career expo

Kirsten McDaniel

We are so fortunate to live in a place that prioritizes and invests in the future of our community’s kids. Each spring the GlenX Expo takes place at Glenwood Springs High School and is one of the efforts put forth to provide career exposure to high school students. Launched just two years ago by GlenX in partnership with the Aspen Community Foundation, the March 5th expo aims to connect students with local companies to facilitate learning about the opportunities available with local employers. The purpose of the expo is to:

• Present an opportunity for high school students to explore a variety of career choices

• Businesses share their career opportunities, experiences and passions directly with students

• Expose high school students to career possibilities through internships, apprenticeships, career shadowing and summer jobs.

Students from Aspen to Glenwood will have the opportunity to meet with organizations representing a wide variety of industries, such as Gould Construction, Alpine Bank, Bluetent Marketing, Umbrella Roofing, Mind Springs Health, regional city and county governmental departments, and many more. How can parents help their high school students make the most out of this valuable and developmentally important experience?

1. Prep your child on the basics of professionalism: Dress professionally. Make eye contact while speaking clearly and thoughtfully. Shake hands and introduce yourself to the professionals and businesses they speak with.

2. Know the event layout in advance to maximize time. In Gymnasium A, companies are clustered in the following fields: business, marketing, public admin and government; STEM, arts, design and information technology; and agriculture, natural resources and energy. Gymnasium B will hold companies representing the fields of skilled trades and technical sciences; hospitality, human services and education; and health science, criminal justice and public safety.

3. Research attending companies in advance (as listed on GlenX’s website), and prepare questions such as:

What does your company do?

What opportunities are associated with careers in your profession?

Do you have advice for someone interested in pursuing this kind of career?

Do you offer internships, job shadowing, summer jobs or apprenticeships?

Ask for business cards for professionals with whom they’ve spoken.

4. Follow up. After the event, sit down with your child and ask them who they spoke with and which companies particularly interested them. What did they learn about each company in terms of the company’s services and purpose? How might they be a fit for the student’s strengths and interests? Help your student research the projected growth for those industries and jobs, associated salaries, and costs of certifications and education necessary for individual career paths (Youthentity offers quick links to salary information and educational costs at Encourage your child to send a follow up email (or a written note) to thank individuals for their time – great practice for a real-world interview process and networking.

The GlenX Career Expo is a chance for students to understand future possibilities, and to jumpstart their consideration of many paths their lives may take. Youthentity’s Career Academy students and staff will also be in attendance next Thursday. Our Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management students will hold a cooking demo; as well, our Structure Design & Building Industry students will be on hand to answer questions about Career Academy & YE University (a career preparation and exploration program which aims to show students the career possibilities within the fields of hospitality, construction, architecture and health care).

Students can view a complete list of attending companies and access other preparatory resources at

Kirsten McDaniel is executive director of Youthentity.

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