Arizona State University and Tolleson High School partnered to present an interactive Career Exploration Day on April 14, and the event aimed to introduce more than 400 high school juniors to career and professional development opportunities that will help prepare them for success.
During the daylong event, Tolleson students engaged in career exploration workshops covering a range of topics, including interviewing and elevator pitches, preparing resumes, money habits and more. In addition to a resource fair, current ASU students and staff who attended Tolleson hared reflections and insights from their high school to college and career journeys.
"We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Tolleson High School in this innovative way," said Vanessa Ruiz, ASU's deputy vice president of educational outreach. “At ASU, we're all about collaborating with school districts that prioritize their students' college and career readiness education, setting them up to thrive beyond high school, regardless of their background or situation. This collaboration is a natural fit."
Justyss Strickland, a junior at Tolleson High School and an aspiring psychology and pre-law major, said the program helped her and her peers to better understand the pathways to college majors and careers that interest them. She described the Career Exploration Day as a chance to “take further steps into our careers and what we want to do.”
Strickland and her classmate, Emmanuel Jimenez, noted that the resume-writing workshop was their favorite experience of the day. Jimenez recalled feeling uneasy when he applied for his first job without a resume.
“Luckily, I got the job, but I would have been a lot more secure if I’d had a resume or knew how to make one,” Jimenez said.
After high school, Jimenez said he looks forward to attending college and studying engineering because “I like math for starters, and I like creating things, and engineering’s a good way to do that.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker will hold 12 jobs in their lifetime, many of which did not exist just a few years ago, so events like this one allow students to discover careers and industries that match their interests and passions in ways they may not have considered before.
“Employers are realizing the importance of building a talent pipeline with students while they are still in high school,” said Tolleson High School Principal Felipe S. Mandurraga. “It's amazing to see the shift towards investing in the future workforce, and it is especially rewarding to partner with ASU to provide our students the opportunity to explore different career paths that align with their passions and interests."
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