Graduating seniors can be overwhelmed by making plans for the future and attending events like the recently conducted school-to-career night at Churchill County High School are meant to help. Organized by Work Based Learning Coordinator Dr. Sue Segura, the evening was full of options intended to spark discussion among seniors, their parents and the community.
Presenters were greeted by an impressive display of hard work and skill from the school’s culinary students who had covered three tables with arrangements of fruit, cheese, vegetables and desserts.
Skiver Bootmakers, Battle Born Broncs, the U.S. Army, Plasterers and Cement Masons, Western Nevada College, Truckee Meadows Community College, NV Gold, JOIN, Inc., and more were also on hand to answer questions.
Jake Olsen, representing the dairy and agriculture industries, said he wants to encourage the students to “try new things. Try anything and try to find your passion.” He emphasized that it’s possible to unexpectedly discover a passion in an unfamiliar career direction.
The school-to-career program motto is “Preparing students for adult life” which includes understanding personal finance, learning to fill out job applications and creating a resume. Segura is on a personal quest to meet with every senior and every business in Churchill County and match students with appropriate apprenticeships and internships.
“The community of Fallon wants to partner with our school to career program to make kids successful,” she said.
Businesses interested in participating with the program by offering mentorship, internships or apprentice opportunities can contact Segura directly at 775-790-1139.
Joe McFadden of McFadden Electric and school board trustee came to the event hoping to help students find a direction after high school. As an employer, he sees the need to get more people working.
Local businesses have also been telling Segura they would appreciate it if more of those workers would simply show up, follow directions and put their phones away during working hours.
The first step for every senior is to apply for a library card from Churchill County Library, either at the library’s front desk or at churchillcountylibrary.org. Segura will use that 10-digit number to register the student in the career assessment system. After completion of the career and interest assessments, the student will have resources available to further explore.
A new resource was a highlight of the evening for many attendees. A hands-on demonstration of the new virtual reality career field trip headsets available through a grant from Supporting Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals (Project SANDI). Ten field trips are available now and a total of 35 will available soon.
“Nevada schools and libraries are the first in the nation to have access to the program,” said Mark Andersen, co-founder and CEO of Lifeliqe, the company behind the immersive training simulation design.
Anderson and the Project SANDI coordinator, Tammy Westergard, have travelled from county to county in Nevada setting up and demonstrating the technology.
Teachers at Nevada colleges were consulted as subject matter experts for the content of each field trip, which are intended as an interactive textbook. College students in specific courses of study will eventually be able to borrow a headset for an entire semester.
During this evening the dairy and agriculture, HVAC systems, and registered nurse field trips were on display. In nursing, for example, the user could practice administering a dialysis treatment to a virtual patient and then look inside enormous veins to see how the dialysis actually works in the bloodstream.
While the instructional content can be viewed on the website without the headset, Andersen says the experience is not as immersive or as cool.
The school-to-career night events will occur again with one already planned for fall. In the meantime, Segura encourages all seniors to stop by, grab a coffee or water and talk with her about the many possibilities available.
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