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More than 250 YUHSD students attend AWC Non-Traditional Career Conference

More than 250 students from Yuma Union High School District attended Arizona Western College’s 9th Annual Non-Traditional Career Conference on Friday, Sept. 22.

A non-traditional career is defined as an occupation in which more than 75 percent of the workforce is of the opposite gender. Students from all six YUHSD schools head from industry leaders and experienced hands-on activities related to career fields of interest.  

“I wanted to learn more about it and when I grow up I can make a good decision about what I want to do,” said Kofa High School ninth grader Sarai Perez, who participated in a fire-fighter relay race that included rolling up a fire hose, entering a faux-building through a crawlspace, and hurrying to put on fire gear and a helmet.

This year, the AWC Non-Traditional Career Conference provided high school females an opportunity to experience activities relating to careers in: Fire Fighting/EMS, Law Enforcement, Welding, Construction, Automotive, Culinary Arts, Economics, Electrical, Informatics and Engineering careers. While male high school students got to experience career skills specific to: Nursing, Early Childhood Education, Radiologic Technology, Hospitality, Massage Therapy, Sports Medicine, Graphic Design, Financing/Marketing, Accounting and Secondary Education.

Cibola High School ninth grader, Nicolas Ledesma, said, “I just wanted to see what sports medicine was really about and I wanted to see what it would take to get into mechanics.”

The event included an opening session with a keynote address, two breakout interactive sessions where students chose careers they were most interested in, lunch, and a closing ceremony.

Overall, the experience was eye-opening for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, according to Kofa High School student Vanessa Porchas, “I wanted to know how college would work and what you needed to do in order to get there. One thing I learned is that women can do the same stuff men can do.”

 Kofa student participating in fire fighter relay at AWC   

Eric Patten