MERCED -- Nearly 1,000 high school sophomores from Merced County high schools and Chowchilla got a glimpse at future careers Thursday during a Career Industry Day at the Merced County Fairgrounds.
Spread over four buildings at the fairgrounds, the day exposed sophomores to career options in 15 industry sectors, including agriculture, business and marketing, industrial arts, arts and communication, education, automotive transportation services and health care.
Mary Whited, Regional Occupational Program coordinator for the Merced County Office of Education, said all students went through a two-hour Extreme Entrepreneurship tour where they learned tips on starting businesses from young entrepreneurs.
The event was conducted by the MCOE Career and Alternative Education Department.
Maryan Verissimo, 16, a junior at Gustine High School, said the event was well thought out, and she enjoyed seeing career options.
"It's really cool. I like how they all came together and did this for us," Maryan said. She favors San Jose State University and may study accounting or business.
Julie Rivard, who teaches art, computer graphics, yearbook and journalism at Merced High School, displayed artwork from her advanced art students, along with computer graphics and the student newspaper.
"I think it's good for kids to be introduced to a lot of different careers," Rivard said.
A former ROP student at Merced High, Rivard said she was able to get a graphics design job when she went to college thanks to the vocational program. Rivard was the 2011 Merced County Teacher of the Year.
Dominic DeFrancesco, 15, a Dos Palos High School sophomore, was surprised to to learn there were military and health care career pathways represented at the career day. He said agriculture has always caught his eye but he wants to learn about other career options.
"It's hard to get a good job that you like without a college degree," Dominic said.
Whited hopes students take away the notion that if they haven't already chosen a career path, they can look around to see what Merced County has to offer vocationally.
Previously held over several days, Career Industry Day organizers decided to consolidate the event to one day after input from teachers, career counselors and school administrators, Whited said.
The event lets students network with local business representatives, listen to guest speakers and learn about the steps they should take to be successful in the career fields they pursue.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.