Last Friday, students of Cloud & Fire had the chance to participate in the long-awaited Manufacturing Day at Los Angeles Valley College. This was a full day of networking, panels, and workshops. Students from our manufacturing class, career pathways class and YouthBuild Policy Council were able to participate, and they all learned a lot during their time at the event.
After a tour of the entire campus, students gathered in the main auditorium. They listened to Congressman Tony Cardenas give a rousing and highly motivational talk, encouraging students to essentially dream big and work hard (our theme this year!) no matter their circumstances. Then a panel of manufacturing professionals answered questions ranging from the details of working in the field to what kind of skills students can begin developing now in high school. Each panelist also talked about their unique stories and life paths, revealing the many facets and possibilities of a career in manufacturing.
Following this more informational portion was a time for students to visit manufacturer’s tables and do a little networking. Several different industries were represented, from aerospace companies to sustainable waste management. Then the program reached its most practical point when each student was placed into a different workshop taught by LAVC’s manufacturing faculty. They built circuit boards for LED lights, started on blueprints for 3D models using a specialized computer program, got to use some of the shop machines to make keychains, and so much more. Alan Lima said, “It was an awesome experience. I learned that there are a lot of opportunities within manufacturing. Being there definitely increased my interest, especially when we got to use the machines.” Upon reflection, Michael Cortez wished the workshops had lasted longer so he could keep learning. All the students of Cloud & Fire really appreciated the chance to learn more about manufacturing, especially within the setting of college and academic development.
Cloud & Fire’s Career Pathways class received a special visitor last week when a representative from Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) came to present on their BankWorks program. This is a free 8-week course that prepares students to enter the field of financial services. Ms. Berghoudian explained the basics of what students would be learning, including professionalism in word and deed, how to serve bank members like customers, and especially how to sell themselves to potential employers once the program ends. The session was extremely informational and students had the chance to learn about entry level jobs, like being a bank teller, as well as the higher level positions within a career in banking. Students had so many questions, ranging from program logistics to exactly how BankWorks would support them as they actually started their career, and Ms. Berghoudian graciously answered them all. If our students were not interested in financial services as a career, many of them are now! BankWorks was not the only program advertised; Ms. Berghoudian also gave some information on ApartmentWorks and HealthWorks, similar courses for students interested in the building management or health fields. Hopefully this gave students some ideas about career interests they had not yet explored, especially those seniors that are quickly approaching graduation.
This month Cloud & Fire was visited by recruiters from Goodwill Industries International. There will be a new Goodwill store opening up in the Van Nuys area, and our school was given priority in their hiring process. Several students signed up for pre-interviews with the recruiters, and they spent the days leading up to their visit preparing resumes and reviewing interview tips from our Career Pathways teacher. Many students received great feedback from the recruiters and were invited to the next step in the hiring process, and our visitors were very impressed with our students and their potential for positions and careers even beyond sales.
It was a really great opportunity for the students involved, as each of them got a little taste of the professional world and the ins and outs of the hiring process. We look forward to partnering with Goodwill for future professional development of our students.