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Toledo Public Schools to host Career Expo


By La Prensa Staff


Toledo Public Schools (TPS) is attempting to expose its students districtwide to a wide variety of future opportunities by hosting a Career Connect Expo on January 15 and 16, 2019 at the SeaGate Convention Centre downtown. This is the first time TPS administrators have held such an event.


TPS is inviting companies to host interactive career exploration booths in an attempt to reach 1,600 eighth grade students. The hope is to make an impactful difference in a young student’s life, by introducing a wide variety of career pathways which education officials believe will make a difference in the economic sustainability of the Toledo metro region.

José Rosales


“What we’re doing is using a resource, a tool known as Naviance, which is implemented through the eighth-grade curriculum, said José Rosales, a TPS career and technology education student liaison, who is on a committee to organize the event. “We know their top three career cluster interests. They’ve taken a career assessment. I’m looking at a report for Oakdale Elementary and it tells me their top three for those students. So when they come down to the Expo, we’ll guide them into those career pathways to learn more.”


Information technology is just one career area that will be showcased at the event. Other areas will include law and public safety, public relations, government, hospitality and tourism, education, and marketing. The eighth graders also will be exposed to the district’s various career tech programs, such as aviation technology, business, construction and carpentry, and others.


According to Rosales, there also will be 400 to 500 high school seniors in attendance at the expo. All are enrolled in career tech programs at various TPS high schools. The expo also will feature 10 college admissions representatives, as well as the school district’s 40 to 50 partnerships with industry, including available apprenticeships in the skilled trades.


“They will actually come and have a job fair, where all of our industry partners that are going to be participating will have an opportunity to do on-site interviews of the seniors,” said Rosales. “Best-case scenario, for example, is IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) will be there and able to interview students from the Rogers (HS) Construction Academy that they know are ready for some type of internship or apprenticeship.”


Rosales is helping to organize the first-ever event, drawing local professionals to share their knowledge and opportunities with Latino teens and others. But the monumental task of putting the expo together moves the students forward on career pathways unlike at any other time.


“The committee has been working hard since August and, to be honest, the district, right at the top, including [TPS Superintendent] Dr. Romules Durant, identified a need, a gap,” he said. “One of those gaps is the shortage of skilled workers. According to the Dept. of Labor, 200,000 jobs unfilled in the year 2020 has a direct impact on our community here in Northwest Ohio,” specifically central city, impoverished neighborhoods. We have a solution. We just need to create this true pipeline program for these kids to know what careers are out there for them.”


That could have a direct impact on Latino students. Among the 2,000 plus teens who will attend the expo, 150 to 200 are expected to be Latino. If those students can find a career pathway that interests them and enroll in either a career tech program or land an apprenticeship, dozens of families could have a brighter economic future.


That’s what motivates Rosales, who has a background in helping establish mentoring relationships for young people in both the African-American and Latino communities, to create cultural competence and to help future educators learn more about the communities in which they serve. In fact, he has returned to the University of Toledo where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees to now work on a doctorate in educational theory and social foundations.


“Our students are really able to capitalize on that, because they’re not only coming to learn, but the eighth graders may spark their interest and be able to matriculate into one of our 40 career tech programs across the district,” he explained. “These kids are able to get into a program as early as their freshman year to start making those steps to be career and college ready.”


Along the way, those students may have a chance to take College Credit Plus courses, which offers free classes. Once they graduate, they can directly enter a college major or apprenticeship.


“Some people may view it as a challenge, but we think this is an opportunity to make a huge impact on the lives of these eighth graders and seniors, and ultimately on the community members in which we serve, because this is very holistic,” said Rosales. “This is a holistic approach. We have all these colleges, industry partners, and four branches of the military who are truly invested in the kids within our community, hoping this will spark an interest. This is all data-driven. We can look after the expo to see if our curriculum is on track or needs adjusted.”


While the committee has recruited industry professionals to share their knowledge, the expo also is an opportunity for the TPS career tech programs to showcase themselves, hoping to land interested eighth graders and continue to grow. Rosales stated that has sparked a competition of sorts, because students will be bussed from their home school to anywhere in the district to attend the program of their choice.


“What we’re trying to do ultimately is put the right kids in the right programs for the right reasons,” said Rosales.


Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/18/18 22:25:13 -0800.




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