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What’s Your Path?

On Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Moses Lake High School hosted the first of a series of career connected learning events intended to help students connect with local business and industry opportunities.

Nearly a year ago, Governor Inslee launched Career Connect Washington, a statewide focus on STEM workforce development. “A four-year degree isn’t the only path to a fulfilling career,” Gov. Inslee said. “Business leaders have told us they are looking for talent in everything from information technology to health care. And that’s what this initiative is all about: connecting students to great employers and high-quality job training.”

Moses Lake is joining a number of communities across the state that are intentionally finding ways to help students to learn about the local careers and training opportunities in STEM industries that include apprenticeship, technical certificates, internships, and work-site learning opportunities. These can also be a pathway to employment which may not always require a four year degree.

Ande Chapman, Transition Consultant for the North Central Educational Services District works in partnership with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Chapman explained “It’s important for ALL students to have access to quality career opportunities to pathway jobs that will keep them at the forefront of economic growth in North Central Washington.”

The goal of the ‘What’s YOUR Path’ event was to give youth an opportunity to build social capital and meet local business and industry professionals, to increase awareness about the types of careers in Moses Lake. The small panel and conversational format was designed to help students feel comfortable engaging the professionals in conversation.

A dozen local business and industry professionals from: SGL (Annette Herup), Chemi-Con – (HR Director, Stela Heuschkel), the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Joseph Hauth), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 191) (Journeyman Electricians, John Lancaster & Tara Ochoa), Welding at CB Tech (Chad Utter), Big Bend Community College Nursing, Mechatronics, and Unmanned Aerial Systems programs (Tabatha DeLong, Barb Collins, Jody Bortz, Gary Baker & Byron Will-Noel)  and the Medical Assistant Program Charter College (David Barshes), took time out of the work day to meet with students and discuss their career paths, training options and thoughts about career readiness skills.

Joseph Hauth, Director of Business Development for AJAC, took the opportunity to connect with several students. Hauth explained, “AJAC is excited to launch new adult and Youth Apprenticeship programs in Grant County. We’ve seen a growing interest from local manufacturers and look forward to expanding our apprenticeship programs in the community.”

Students participating in the event were given the option of learning about local career paths from the professionals in two career path panels, or engage with professionals directly at one of two sessions of career conversation tables. About 40 students participated at Moses Lake High School.

The ‘What’s YOUR Path?’ series of Career Connection events is planned to continue through the 2018-19 school year and are being organized Chapman, in partnership with Dr. Sue Kane, the Director of the Apple STEM Network and a number of additional partners who are helping to support the Career Connected Learning efforts including: the Port of Moses Lake, the North Central Workforce Development Council, the North Central Economic Development Council, the North Central Educational Services District, SkillSource, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Moses Lake School District.