Aspen High students join Valley teens at GlenX career expo |

Aspen High students join Valley teens at GlenX career expo

Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan joins 80 businesses to talk to area kids

Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent
Aspen High School freshman Sami Jaworski, left, gets a demonstration on climate change impacts to different local industries from Aspen Global Change Institute's Ellie Barber.
Ryan Summerlin / Post Independent

The GlenX career expo Wednesday at Roaring Fork High School drew students from seven area high schools to talk with representatives of about 80 businesses.

New to this year’s expo was a “career talk” session, with a series of speakers from the community and business leaders discussing their career paths and giving insights into how they achieved their success.

Among the several speakers were Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa, Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan, and Mike Lowe of Glenwood Adventure Co.

Altai Chuluun, GlenX president, said the students were noticeably more engaged at the expo after being “amped up” by the career talk speakers.

In attendance at Roaring Fork High School were also students from Glenwood Springs, Yampa Mountain, Bridges, Basalt and Aspen high schools.

Chuluun also announced a big new project for GlenX. The organization will be kicking off a program for entrepreneurial teams of high school students to compete in a “Shark Tank” style event.

Registration will begin Aug. 1, and the competition is expected to launch Oct. 2. The challenge will be open to anyone in the community, said Chuluun, but each team will need to include high school students.

The challenge is supposed to encourage students to work with professional mentors in developing their ideas into business plans and learning business and life skills. The winners will be announced at next year’s career expo.

Sami Jaworski, a Aspen High School freshman who’s interested in graphic design, said the expo was a good event for students to learn about the careers and what it takes to get there.

Noah Peterson, a Yampa Mountain High School senior, said he might have scored a job with one of the construction companies he talked to at the expo. Peterson said he wants a career in construction and more specifically in sustainable construction, and he walked away with a few applications to fill out.

The showing of companies at the expo represented a good variety of career paths for students to explore, he said. “It’s really giving students some good opportunities.”

Matt Haines, a member of the Glenwood Springs High School Air Force Junior ROTC, was at the expo with other members promoting the group. The JROTC can’t directly recruit members for military service, said Ret. Air Force Col. Ben Akins, the JROTC instructor. The program is geared toward character and career development primarily, but some students do decide to enlist or join ROTC in college.

Haines has already gone through the full process of enlisting with the Army and said his dream is to pilot Black Hawk helicopters.

Army recruiters were at the expo, as well as officers from several police departments, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, several construction companies and hospitality industry companies, just to name a few.

Jessica Lee, a Yampa freshman, also said the expo was a great opportunity for students “thinking about what they want to do in the future to learn about the different jobs and different positions at these organizations.” Lee said she was interested in dance, but that she also wants to own land some day to farm and ranch.

Lux Andrade, a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School, said the speakers seemed to have an overarching message that, at the beginning of your career path, you can try out several types of jobs to figure out what you want to do, rather than having one set plan.

The event has grown a lot in the last three years, said Kelsie Goodman, RFHS assistant principal. “And the presenters had an encouraging message, to dive in and experience everything, to find out what you love and what you hate.”

In mid-October GlenX is shooting for another career expo, this time in Rifle to reach students in the western part of the county.