Giving Thought: Upcoming GlenX expo event plants post-secondary seeds
Parents of high-school juniors and seniors, mark your calendars!
On March 15, Glenwood Springs High School will host GlenX Career Expo, the region’s biggest event of its kind. Whether your high-schooler is seeking full-time work, a part-time job for pocket money, a career-oriented internship or just a job-shadowing opportunity, GlenX is an ideal venue for students to connect directly with businesses, nonprofits and other employers up and down the greater Roaring Fork Valley.
Counselors and principals from six public high schools have been brainstorming for months to put this event together, and each school will bus its students to the site. The Expo will be divided into two sessions, one for Glenwood High from 8:45-10:30 a.m., and another for students from Aspen, Basalt, Roaring Fork, Bridges and Yampah Mountain high schools from 10:15 a.m. to noon. Each session will feature a roster of speakers, followed by the exposition, in which students can visit directly with professionals from a wide variety of businesses and learn about job opportunities and career paths across the valley.
For an idea of the breadth and diversity of employers, here is a short list of the different categories:
• Business, marketing, public administration and government;
• STEM, arts, design and information technology;
• Agriculture, natural resources and energy;
• Skilled trades and technical sciences;
• Hospitality, human services and education;
• Health science, criminal justice and public safety.
So whether you want to be a chef or a sheriff, an engineer or an electrician, a farmer or a firefighter, this is your chance to get your foot in the door and learn more.
Director Jayne Poss is especially excited about the 2022 GlenX because the event will move back to its original and much-preferred in-person format. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to hold a virtual event last year, and Poss is well aware of the difficulties and barriers students have faced for the last two years.
“We’re coming out of this two-year, extremely challenging time,” Poss said. “They can start to look ahead and explore career opportunities. Nearly 150 businesses will be there to support them and support their futures.”
On the GlenX website, glenxcareerexpo.com, the business directory can give potential attendees an idea of the opportunities available. There’s a description of each employer, what they do and what kinds of possibilities they offer, whether it’s summer jobs, internships, volunteer placements or something more. Using the directory, students could literally create a list of the booths they want to visit and questions to ask at each station. There’s a boatload of difference between City Market, Aspen Film, Boulder Boat Works and the U.S. Army, but each one presents a host of opportunities and on-the-job experience.
It’s also important to note that students from each of the six high schools in the valley have participated in a student advisory committee that has generated ideas, advice and feedback for the adults staging the event. What fields are today’s juniors and seniors interested in? What kind of speakers do they want to hear? And what are the best ways to spread the word and promote the event?
The GlenX Career Expo is a true example of local employers showing up for the region’s kids and helping them to understand the options and decisions that lie before them as they approach high-school graduation. The event has a proven track record of setting students on the path to a career. Poss recalls a young woman named Melissa Sanchez who took an interest in banking. After attending the 2018 GlenX as a senior, Sanchez leveraged the in-house training at ANB Bank to become a branch supervisor in just three years.
“It is challenging for us to track GlenX Career Expo graduates,” Poss admits, “but we believe we are planting and nourishing ‘career’ seeds that will take root and bloom at some opportune time in a student’s post-secondary journey.”
Tamara Tormohlen is executive director of the Aspen Community Foundation.