As young adults begin graduating and developing their skills for their future careers, Chief Executive Officer Ginger Ontiveros has stated that Tomorrow Talent’s goal is to “connect young people with their future careers through work-based learning experiences and jobs.”
One of the many events that Tomorrow’s Talent has organized is the Evening with Industry that took place on March 17th, 2023 at the Courtyard By Marriott. To organize this, Workforce Development Director, Susanne Mata explains her experience with inviting employers to the event as a “positive experience” since she had the opportunity to connect with them and get the employers “excited to meet with the students presenting with Evening with Industry.” Not only that but Tomorrow’s Talent worked to organize the venue and work with Sultana High School’s Culinary Program so that they could show off their skills by making a variety of treats for the guests and employers that would be attending the event.
As the Tomorrow’s Talent team works to organize the event itself, the Workforce Readiness Director, Danielle Jeffers explains how she has worked with students in the CTE IT program from Oak Hills High School and Digital Design program from Hesperia High School. Mrs. Jeffers explains how the students have “gone through four weeks of preparation” by teaching students how to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, how to interact with Employers, public speaking, etc. Through this time period, she explains how students went from having a “complete fear of being on stage to being calm and confident in front of a crowd.” From a student’s perspective, student presenter Alexander Carrillo talks about how “Mrs. Jeffers taught students better methods of presenting [themselves]” and “how to stand out as professional in the field.” To accomplish this, Carrillo explains how “every week, [Mrs. Jeffers] would prepare a different activity” which helped students realize their strengths and weaknesses while exploring the importance of “confidence and simple mannerisms.”
After spending a month of training, student presenters from both the CTE IT programs from Oak Hills and Digital Design from Hesperia High School were ready to demonstrate their skills at Evening with Industry. For the Oak Hills CTE IT program, the students worked together to create a Bulldog Cafe scenario in order to portray the importance of networking, cybersecurity, linux, etc. Ingrid Amaya talks about how she was able to demonstrate “her skills in log analysis” and “network trafficking [which she] used wireshark” to display packets being captured in the cafe scenario that Oak Hills has created in order to portray their skills. Not only that but Mr. Carrillo also demonstrated his skills with his team by “explaining the situations [his] other classmates were in when managing a local network.” As for Hesperia’s Digital Design team, they had the opportunity to portray the different types of materials, machines, and programs such as Adobe Photoshop to showcase their design and give out customized items to the people who attended the occasion. Throughout the evening, students also had the opportunity to network and interact with the attendees and the employers that were present at the event. Mr. Carrillo describes these interactions as a learning experience since the employers “were more than willing to help us using any advice that they could offer” and “asked them questions based on what [they] learned and what [they] showcased.”
As Evening with Industry came to an end, the Tomorrow’s Talent team and the student presenters agreed that the event was a success. Chief of Staff Zachary Hill explains how he was surprised “how many real-world applications that students were practicing” throughout the evening, and how both IT and Graphic Design demonstrated complex skills. Mrs. Ontiveros also states how she enjoyed “talking with students during the demonstration portion” and witnessing the “employers [doing] the same.” Preston Brown who is one of the attendees who is currently in the production industry that involves filming, photography, and event coordination couldn’t agree more since he explains how “students shined the same way as [he] expected them to since they presented and showed to the audience their skills and knowledge.” Mr. Brown also commented how the occasion was well organized and it was “refreshing how in tune everything was going.”
As students perfect their skills and begin going into the workforce, Hill advises students that “networking will help them stand out to employers and establish connections” while Mrs. Mata also emphasizes the importance of finding a “skill that will set [them] apart from other students.” Throughout the training to prepare for the Evening with Industry and the event itself, students practiced the skills they were strong in and enhanced their communication with employers and others who want to learn from the students. With this Mrs. Jeffers states how she knows that “they can take these career readiness skills into the next phases of their life after graduation.” When students do start their lives after graduation, Mr. Brown explains how he wants them to know that they should “chase their passion” and they have the “whole world available to you” meaning that they have no reason to not take advantage.
With the help of employers, teachers, the HUSD staff, and the Tomorrow’s Talent team, students are now starting their journeys in the workforce with enhanced skills and knowledge.