The timeless question of “What do I do after high school?,” was made a bit clearer for some students who were grabbing pamphlets and watching demonstrations at Bear Creek High School on Monday night.
Thousands of students, parents and family members streamed into the two gyms at the high school for Lodi Unified School District’s annual College and Career Night.
“Even if you don’t want to go to college, you should go to one of these,” said Izaak Gabriel, a senior at Tokay High School. “All these people help you to find out what you want to be. They give a lot of advice.”
His friend Eric Gonzalez, also a Tokay High student, also found it useful as a senior thinking about where he wants to go to college.
More than 100 presenters arrived from state and private colleges, technical schools and local places of employment to give students guidance on career paths that might be of interest. New this year were several presentations helping students navigate applying for financial aid and for those interested in applying to out-of-state colleges.
The goal in putting this together is to show students that there are a lot of opportunities out there that they might not have known about in areas such as fitness training, aviation mechanics arts and music, according to Cindy Mettler, one of the program organizers and district coordinator for the AVID program.
Representing a unique career in the wine and agricultural industries was David Langone, an assistant viticulturist from Vino Farms. On display were several examples of typical diseases and pests that afflict grapevines — fungal pathogens like botrytis.
“It’s like being an advisor or a consultant,” he said.
A typical day for Langone is riding on ATVs through the fields looking for signs of potential pest problems. He then would go back and make a report on the sightings and recommend treatments.
For this job, he recommends students go to college and study a science degree while also looking into getting a pest control adviser license. This requires 42 units of classes and study of pest management.
Local schools like Humphreys College in Stockton, which has degrees in business and law were also represented at the fair, offering a free summer class in any subject to all high school students. “Not many people seem to know about us. We’re the best-kept secret in Stockton,” said April Huerta, assistant director of special programs at Humphreys.
Representatives from their court reporting program had brought out equipment to show their unique keyboard for typing down court proceedings and depositions.
“It’s a career that’s very much in demand and is not expected to be taken over by technology. It’s challenging and financially rewarding,” said Kay Reindl, department chair of court reporting at Humphreys College.
The program teaches legal and medical terminology and the language of the oddly designed keyboard they use, which only has a few consonants and all the vowels except for “I”. Average wages for a court reporter range from $45,000 to $65,000, Reindl said.
In another building, a technical school based in Oakland called the Aviation Institute of Maintenance was promoting a unique career in working on the mechanical parts of planes.
“I always tell the guys who like working on engines and cares that it’s three steps up from that,” said Thomas Rhymes, community outreach coordinator for the school.
The 21-month program, which only accepts 25 people per class may lead to jobs at major air carriers such as United and Boeing. Average salary for an aviation mechanic is on average $56,000 in the nation and $64,000 in Northern California, Rhymes said.
High schoolers enjoyed looking for other careers throughout the fair as well, such as nursing, electrician work and accounting. But even younger kids marveled at robots from Lincoln Technical Academy and learned more about careers themselves.
“It’s nice to see young people of all ages — not just high school students, but young children, coming to this,” said Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer.
The career fair is put on about the end of every August, so if your family missed this one, another opportunity will arise next year.
Contact reporter Christina Cornejo at firstname.lastname@example.org