This spring, TIA students had the exciting opportunity to attend the TIA Career Fair. Booths from a variety of professionals from all sorts of career fields sent representatives to give talks, as small groups of students rotated from booth to booth to get a hands-on idea of what great career paths are available to them.
All too often high school graduates have ideas of what they would like to pursue for a career, but they also have many uncertainties. To start college and decide to change a major can cause wasted time and money.
This was true for Randy Harris, who had a booth at this year’s career fair. In high school he loved math and science and wanted to be an engineer but had no idea what kind. After his first semester at the University of Arizona, he realized he was in the wrong place.
Now a civil engineer, Mr. Harris went on to say, “What I want to do for these kids is to show them the different kinds of engineers that are out there, so they don’t make the same mistake that I did. To help these kids get a feel for what they want ahead of time.”
Not Just a Job, But a Life-Long Vocation
The students perform hands-on activities. They spend quality time at each booth with real professionals who work in the real world. They learn about what careers are out there for young people, which is the key goal for TIA in putting on this fair each year.
As Officer Heather Mau puts it, “I like working with the students. Whether they work in law enforcement or not, they are our future. Here, they can learn anything. There are options.”
Heather has been with the Tucson Police Department for over 10 years now and has participated in the TIA career fair for 6 years, putting on an impressive display of law enforcement personnel, vehicles, and equipment. She fully understands the importance of a hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder experience for students. Officer Mau explained, “I didn’t plan on being an officer. The way TIA sets this up gives students huge options to go and learn all that they can ahead of time.”
Knowing is Half the Battle
Francisco, a client relations representative with Arizona Bilingual News shared, “It’s about the opportunities that TIA brings. They put these careers in front of you and you can match your goals with those. Most of us didn’t get those options, at least not where I am from in Mexico. It’s wonderful what TIA is doing for these students.”
TIA’s plan for career day is that the kids come to the booths in small groups for a good taste of all that is out there. Students have a lot of opportunities to see a wide variety of careers.
One career fair veteran was asked why he thought TIA stood out and why he’s been willing to host a booth every year since the beginning. “Their emphasis is on college prep,” he said. “They cater to people who sometimes don’t know that they have the options for a good education.”
It’s a Family
Another Tucson United School District retiree and a regular at the TIA career fair said, “As an outsider, I can see that TIA has a special caring connection, a family feel to it. There’s a one-to-one relationship between the teachers, faculty and students.”
When asked why he valued the job opportunity options students get at TIA, he responded, “The value comes down to these real applications. It’s not abstract, not academia. These are real examples. When the kids see these tables, they realize these people are doing real things in life and they get excited about it.”