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RWP - Careers in Gear 2012

On April 10, 2012, approximately 350 students from Butte Falls, Crater, Illinois Valley, Rogue River, and South Medford High Schools participated in the second annual Careers in Gear event at the Medford School District Education Center. Brought together by Rogue Workforce Partnership, The Job Council, Junior Achievement, and over 75 business and community volunteers, the event allowed “students exposure to careers right here in the Rogue Valley and the opportunity to do some networking with employers from all different sections in the employment industry,” said Karen Zerger, Human Resource Manager at Rogue Federal Credit Union. Incorporating the region's R U E (Are you Ready?) media campaign theme, the daylong event was framed up with a series of future thinking/thought provoking questions and opportunities to investigate job possibilities/career pathways. 

The Careers in Gear event is part of the Rogue Workforce Partnership's Youth Success Initiative - a regional strategy to coordinate and expand career/life exploration and work readiness programs at the middle school and high school levels throughout the region. The objective is to engage more business leaders and help create a range of “real world” work experiences for youth. As part of this effort, employers donated over $20,000 in time, resources, food and materials to support the event.

Beginning with a dynamic introduction in the auditorium, students were divided into small groups and paired with a business volunteer who served as a mentor and guide throughout the day. Designed with a two prong approach, students attended a series of three job readiness workshops for one-half of the day, and an exhibit hall (or a “career mall,” as a South Medford High School student called it) for the other half. The exhibit hall showcased “real jobs, right now,” as Patrice Tucker; the Illinois Valley High School counselor so eloquently put it.  It was also a “real neat opportunity (for the students) to meet the faces behind job opportunities and to find out what skills are necessary or needed” for a job, pointed out Shannon Larid, a Medical Billing Clerk at Valley Immediate Care.  “It opens doors on both ends- we find out what the employment pool is like, and they find what employers are looking for.”

Kelly Armijo, a junior from Illinois Valley High School appreciated getting acquainted with “career possibilities that I never thought of, or knew about before… I know I want to go into the medical field, but now, after talking to the Three Rivers Community Hospital booth, I’m thinking about radiology. This was the first opportunity that I had to talk to people who work in the medical field about what they do.” Another student from South Medford High School knew that he wanted to go into marketing, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. “The people at the Motorcycle Superstore USA booth suggested that I look at a wider range of marketing, like graphic design, and they gave me step by step directions on how to do it.”

"Careers in Gear brought representatives from schools, businesses and non-profits together with a common goal of investing in the future of youth, and ultimately, the long-term economic vitality of our region, " said Mary Holbrook, District Director for Junior Achievement and Careers in Gear Event Manager.

Businesses and organization interested in sponsoring and/or participating in next year's event can contact Mary Holbrook at (541) 842-3920 or MHolbrook@ja-pdx.org

  PowerUp is a partnership of the Rogue Workforce Partnership, The Job Council, Child Care Resource Network, Rogue Community College, and Southern Oregon University. Some trainings may be funded in part with Child Care Development Funds administered by the Child Care Division of the Oregon Employment Department. Auxiliary aides and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. WORKSOURCE OREGON - Equal Opportunity Program

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