Career Tech Expos are for people like Ralph Murray.
Murray, a senior at Hoover High School, always knew he didn’t want to go to a four-year university, but still wanted a shot at the American Dream.
He would rather work with his hands out in the field than sit in an office swivel chair eight hours a day.
Before attending an expo at Chukchansi Park Wednesday evening, he had his eyes set on working in law enforcement.
However, the more booths Murray went to, the more his career options expanded.
“Seeing that they have firefighting, Home Depot, and other things like that, it opens my doors a lot more than just looking at law enforcement,” Murray said. “That is one option I had maybe last year, but now my eyes are open to more things.”
Murray was one of about 3,000 students, parents, and educators who attended Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ sixth annual Career Tech Expo. The Chevron-funded event featured over 120 businesses and organizations providing information about jobs and careers.
Learn By Doing
The annual event is about giving students in the Valley an opportunity to dream about what their future can look like, said Jim Yovino, the superintendent of Fresno County Schools.
“If you have never seen it, touched it, or experienced it, how do you know what field you want to go into,” Yovino said. “You only know it by experiencing it and that’s really what the Career Tech Expo is about.”
Oscar Perez couldn’t agree more.
Perez, a senior at Kerman High School, helped build a tiny house with several other students at the expo.
After the experience, Perez said he is certain he wants to go into construction: “It was pretty cool seeing everything come up together.”
Perez said he plans on enrolling in a welding school after he graduates.
Matthew Lamb said he was initially thinking about a career in plumbing.
After attending the expo, he is also contemplating sheet metal and construction.
“There are a lot of different opportunities here,” said Lamb, a student at Valley Apprenticeship Connections.
The medical field often is eye-opening for students, said Joseph Lofreso, a recruiter for Community Medical Centers.
“There are tons of opportunities in hospitals other than doctors and nurses,” Lofreso said.
Some positions include certified nursing assistant, environmental service employee and hospital cook. Most of the careers require little to no schooling and are a good way for students to get their foot in the door.
“The beauty is once you are there for a year, you can transfer to any kind of department in the hospital as long as you qualify,” Lofreso said.
The main requirement to get a job at Stingray Custom Pools is a high school diploma and a good work ethic, said John Smart, a representative of the Clovis-based pool business.
“There are a lot of kids that aren’t cut out for college, and we want to let them know they don’t have to go to college to have a chance at making a good living,” Smart said.
The swimming pool contractor is hiring in sales, design, and general labor work, Smart said.
Students wanting a career in the automotive industry have many options as well, said Rene Perez, a store manager at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Fresno.
Fresno PD Recruits Cadet Candidates
In addition to selling automotive parts, Perez said students can work in warehouses, distribution centers, delivery, and customer service, among others positions.
Sgt. Paul Cervantes with the Fresno Police Department said students don’t need law-enforcement experience to become a cadet.
The cadet program, Cervantes said, is for those interested in a career in the police department but are younger than 21 — the minimum age to become a sworn officer.
All students need to apply is a high school diploma and a valid California driver’s license.