TORRINGTON – The community in and around Goshen County has a lot to offer for careers in many different fields. It is important for students to have a chance to see and learn about all of the opportunities around them.
Goshen County high school students filled the CTEC building at Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) for the Goshen County School District (GCSD) Quest Academy Career Day on Thursday, April 13. Students explored different careers and colleges, took a tour of EWC and listened to keynote speaker Dixie Roth.
These types of experiences can help students make important decisions about college and the potential career paths they want to pursue.
“There are so many opportunities and paths for you out there,” Roth told the students. “I’m excited today to talk to you about some careers, some career choices and what your future may look like.”
Roth explained that she used to be an elementary teacher at a country school 45 miles north of Torrington. There she taught kindergarten through fifth grade, while also being the bus driver, cook, nurse, counselor and principal. After 27 years, she retired from teaching and became a full-time cattle rancher on her family’s ranch, Ochsner Roth Cattle Co.
To symbolize career paths and life, she handed out suckers to all of the students. Afterward, she explained that favoring a career path is similar to picking a favorite sucker flavor. As everyone goes through life, they find certain flavors that they like, and this can differ from person to person. Not to mention, sometimes those flavors change over time, and sometimes they stay the same. However, finding the flavor that is just right can be hard if the person is never exposed to all of their choices.
“Here in Goshen County there’s a place for all of us,” Roth said. “You don’t necessarily need to go to college for that many years for employment either.”
This career day was a great way for students to explore all of those different options. It was also a great opportunity for employers to inspire a new generation of potential employees.
“Life goes so fast,” Roth continued. “Enjoy it and do what you love. You will be good at whatever you choose if you choose with your heart and focus your mind. But you have to be persistent with whatever you do. You have to work hard, nothing comes easy.”
Roth also reminded the students there are many financial opportunities available to them to aid them in pursuing their dreams. As long as they go through the proper channels and take advantage of the help being offered to them, they should be able to afford college.
“My challenge is that each one of you adds your own flavor wherever you go; be your own person,” Roth concluded. “Be yourself and don’t let anyone else talk you into something you don’t want to be.”
This event was all a part of the University of Wyoming (UW) High Altitude Pathway program. Nicholas Jesse, the project coordinator of the Wyoming School-University Partnership, and Colby Gull, the managing director of the UW Trustees Education Initiative were both present to oversee the event.
According to www.uwyo.edu, “The UW High Altitude Pathway program [was developed to] provide high school-age students and local community leaders with tools to improve enrollment and graduation rates among Wyoming’s rural students.”
“The purpose of doing this event is to give kids some knowledge and exposure to career opportunities that exist in their backyard,” Gull told the Telegram. “Our theory is that if they know about jobs and they get some exposure to those jobs, then they can know what education program they need to follow that career path.”
Sometimes it’s hard for high school students to guess the necessary job requirements for certain career paths.
“Just knowing that those options are available, and these are the job requirements, is what we want here,” Gull continued. “(Kristi McGuire, an educator at Torrington High School) made a printable worksheet for the kids with questions they have to ask at least three people.”
The worksheet was designed to ensure that students actually interacted with the companies they showed interest in and asked important questions. These questions included education requirements, necessary skills and pay scales.
“When they have to ask questions, they get a little bit better foundation of what’s available to them,” Gull said.
So far, UW has held four career days, in Riverton, Sheridan Torrington and Albany County, in conjunction with this program. Gull said each of these events has been fairly similar, except for the Albany County event. The Albany County event was more of a conference with speakers, workshops and breakout sessions.
“Kristi has been amazing,” Gull said. “She connected us with (Tami Afdahl, vice president of student services at EWC). They both have really great connections in the community and a deep concern for the kids. Between EWC and the school district, this has been a great experience.”
McGuire told the Telegram, “Our program is called the Quest Academy. My role is to go around to the schools and talk about career development from their freshman year to their senior year. We help them develop their plans, coordinate tours and things with different campuses and put them in touch with people. If they’re interested in the military, we connect them with recruiters.”
“We do some assessments or interest inventories to allow them to see what I am good at and what would I be interested in,” McGuire continued. “Then they go through and look at those careers and look at its livelihood.”
These types of programs help students explore their options and help them remove some of the uncertainty from their futures after graduation.
The coordinators of the event expressed their gratitude to all of the many business partners who came out to share their expertise about their professions with the students. Also, they gave a special thanks to Moriah Harkins, Goshen Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce for their help in connecting with the local business partners.
If anyone would like more information or to be included on the list to participate in the next event contact Kristi at 307-352-7101 or KMcGuire@Goshen1.org.