GlenX adapts to students’ feedback for 2020 exposition
The GlenX career expos in Glenwood Springs and Rifle are always about the students and that is particularly true this year.
After four years, organizers are still tweaking the program to better serve students as they make decisions about their futures. As in previous years, more than 125 organizations will be in attendance, from military branches to education programs, skilled trade businesses like electricians and pipefitters, to nonprofit groups.
This year, when GlenX returns to Glenwood Springs High School on March 5, one of the big differences is that GlenX got ideas from student advisory committees about what they want to see at the career expo.
“We went and we talked to the students about what they want to see at their expo,” GlenX organizer Jayne Poss said.
The advisory groups — one for each of the high schools from Glenwood to Aspen that come to the spring expo — have already paid off, and many of their ideas have been adopted for this year’s expo.
“They were wonderful, and had such good ideas,” she added.
For one thing, the students asked for younger speakers, even if they weren’t completely established in their careers, Poss said.
This year, 23-year-old Tim Burr, founder of Return to Dirt, will be one of the keynote speakers.
Burr sustained a spinal cord injury in 2014 while skiing that left him paralyzed. The experience led him to co-found a nonprofit to help paraplegic and other disabled persons get outdoors in adapted wheelchairs and ATVs.
The other keynote speaker will be Thais Rezende, CEO of BizWorld.org, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that assists young entrepreneurs launch businesses and gain capital.
Rezende also has a fascinating story. She was born in Mexico and emigrated to the U.S. at age 17.
Not speaking any English, Rezende overcame her share of hardships to study journalism, work in tech, and become the head of a large nonprofit organization.
But more experienced people are not excluded from the main stage. Iconic Aspen centenarian Klaus Obermeyer will deliver the welcome message through a prerecorded video.
Obermeyer’s participation was a later addition to the lineup.
“We thought, let’s throw a little curveball and have (Klaus) welcome them to the career expo,” Poss said.
She hopes Obermeyer’s limitless optimism and decades of experience will have a positive impact.
The interesting thing about him is he’s iconic, and every day he still goes to work, every day he swims, he practices martial arts, he skis, and he’s 100 plus,” Poss said. “I think it will be memorable for some.”
Another major change this year is that only junior and senior students will be coming to the expo.
That idea came from both the student advisers and the businesses, Poss said.
The students wanted more focus on what organizations were offering internships, apprenticeships, summer jobs or capstone project assistance, and the busy expo floor would be too crowded in previous years.
The businesses said the same. While they enjoyed speaking to sophomore students, the main focus is on the students who are just about to enter the workforce, college or training program.
Previous GlenX events have been successful, but that isn’t stopping Poss from making changes.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Poss said. “We want to have an impact on (students) lives, and the decisions they’re making about their future. So every year, we tweak it.”
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