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YUHSD students attend tenth Non-Traditional Career Conference at AWC

Students from all six Yuma Union High School District schools attended Arizona Western College’s 10th Annual Non-Traditional Career Conference on Friday, Sept. 28.

A non-traditional career is defined as an occupation in which more than 75 percent of the workforce is of the opposite gender. Students heard from industry leaders, including keynote speaker Shanen Aranmor who created the “Weld Like A Girl” project, and experienced hands-on activities related to career fields of interest. 

“We got to look around, find things that we liked, and if you could make a career out of it or if it’s something that you are passionate about and what to pursue,” said Yuma High School freshman Maya San Ramon, who attended sessions on agriculture and welding. Students practice CPR at Non-Traditional Career Conference.

Following opening ceremonies, students chose two interactive sessions to attend and took part in a majors fair. While the conference was open to AWC students and high school students from around Arizona, YUHSD counseling departments targeted freshmen students.

“We are trying to expose them to new opportunities and encourage them to begin thinking about their future,” Cibola High School Guidance Director Kari Lofton said. “It’s about getting [freshmen] to start planning their college and career goals. That’s our focus as a counseling department and as a district. We want our students to graduate from high school ready for college and career. Today, our students were able to do hands-on activities in non-traditional careers. It’s a great opportunity to expose them to things they may never have thought of doing in the future.”

Yuma High Guidance Director Mary Lynn Coleman added: “Students are able to connect the dots. It’s about elective course selection, career interests and career pathways and tying it all together.”

This year, the AWC Non-Traditional Career Conference provided high school females an opportunity to experience activities relating to careers in: agriculture, automotive, construction, coding, culinary, electrical, engineering, firefighting, film and TV, law enforcement, and welding; while male high school students got to experience career skills specific to: accounting, business, early childhood education, finance, graphic design, hospitality, marketing, medical assisting, nursing, secondary education, and sports medicine.

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org