The words “turn your dream into a career” were present in the Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club on Friday. Attendees from grades seven to 12 glanced at the words as they entered a room full of opportunity.
The SCV Boys and Girls Club held its Breaking Barriers Career Expo for local teens on Friday, an event made in response to feedback from participating teens and aimed at increasing awareness of career opportunities for youth in Santa Clarita.
The Breaking Barriers Career Expo was an intimate event focused on making an impact, with seven organizations present.
Representatives included professions such as the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Los Angeles County Fire Department, local banks, real estate agents, lawyers and television production.
The event was the product of the Keystone Leadership Club, and its theme was diversity and equity in the workplace. Ishneet Singh, the valleywide teen director, said that the goal was to help middle school and high school students explore their areas of interest and acquire professional and technical skills that would give them a competitive advantage in the future.
“Middle school is very interesting because they don’t know what they want to do,” said Singh. “The high schoolers, their company or their fields are here. They’re very engaged.”
College student Rebecca Jiru attended the event as a way to get more resources to decide her plans for her career.
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to major in,” said Jiru.
Representatives from the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Career and College Readiness were present at the expo, providing a medium of career readiness at a level that they can participate in now.
“It’s really a way for students to start to explore their areas of interest and acquire skills, both professional and technical skills, and really, not only help them make a decision about what their future might look like, but also give them a competitive advantage,” said Shari Kraidman with Career and College Readiness.
Carolyn Hoffman, director of Career and College Readiness, emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, and the need to focus on access and equity.
She noted that the state of California had released a new 10-year plan for career technical education that prioritized diversity, inclusion and equity. The Breaking Barriers Career Expo was in alignment with this goal.
The Career and College Readiness programs provide during-school and after-school education for career paths such as engineering, culinary and auto.
“The great thing about our program is everything’s hands-on,” said Hoffman. “They learn best by getting their hands dirty and getting to play around with equipment, and so it’s exciting to be able to provide that for students”