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Youth Career Day inspired students

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

Colorado River Collegiate Academy students joined Bastrop and Cedar Creek High School students this year to receive valuable career advice and personal inspiration during the annual Bastrop Youth Career Day held April 13 at the Jerry Fay Wilhelm Performing Arts Center. There were speakers from the professional community, outside displays of first-responder and military vehicles, a Bluebonnet Electric “cherry-picker” and a medevac helicopter. Inside the PAC there were numerous career-information booths and hiring stations, too.The U.S. Army had an FMTV at the event. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

Kevin Koym, co-founder of Austin’s Tech Ranch, gave solid advice and plenty of inspiration as the keynote speaker for the morning-to-noon event. In 2008, Koym and Jonas Lamis founded Tech Ranch with a shared desire to help technology entrepreneurs “take it to the next level.” Koym challenged the group of about 500 students to “find the work” they are interested in – “and give yourself to it.” He added, “There are a lot of global challenges…and one of them has your name on it. Sometimes it takes a personal revolution to make it happen.”

A short film centered on how students should conduct themselves during job interviews both informed and elicited laughter from the youthful audience. Several BISD students were filmed in ‘actor’ roles during simulated interviews by an HEB human resources official. She then critiqued how each student did during the interview, giving valuable tips to students seeking jobs.

The panel answered students' questions. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)A panel discussion with local business and law enforcement leaders also gave the students a wealth of practical information. Bastrop Public Safety Director Steve Adcock advised students that social media is probably one of the most important indicators that the police department looks at when considering applicants. “We look at your Facebook page, Twitter, etc.,” Adcock said. Bryan Bracewell, owner of Southside Market & BBQ, advised students that networking with people “is huge” and good contacts are “not just a name and an email (sent)” but that they should be “a personal relationship, that takes time and effort.”

Marissa Alvarez, representing Baldwin Beauty Schools at a table in the PAC lobby, said the Austin-area company had been to the Career Day several times and offered scholarships for students. She said both BHS and CCHS students had attended Baldwin Beauty Schools. She lauded the value of Career Day, saying it “gets students motivated for their lives.”Approximately 500 students attended this year's Youth Career Day. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

Senior Melissa Borja said she had learned from Koym’s talk the importance of start-up businesses – and when it comes to considering careers, to “actually follow your dreams.” Alexis Dyer, a senior, said the film short of students being interviewed for HEB jobs demonstrated that “You have to take interviews seriously.” Andrea Orta, a junior, said she had found Koym’s address and the speakers’ panel “very informative” and she had appreciated the good examples of various careers which were detailed. Like Borja, Orta said she had keyed in on Koym’s encouragement to “follow your heart.” Rodolfo Salazar, a junior, said the outside displays were “neat,” adding that at the ambulance display he had learned how first responders react to emergency situations, and what their procedures are. Salazar, a student at BISD’s Colorado River Collegiate Academy, said he was interested in a medical career.

Marine SSgt Emmert and assistants at recruiting table. (Photo by Terry Hagerty)

Back outside, Marine Staff Sergeant Joel Emmert was looking sharp in his creased uniform at a recruiting table set up in the PAC parking lot. “We plan to recruit some Marines today,” he said with conviction. He was being assisted by Francisco Borja and Jonathan Gutierrez, former students/graduates who had signed up for the Marines and were awaiting their reporting dates.

The Bastrop Youth Career Day is an annual event sponsored by Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce, and the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Bastrop ISD. For more information, please contact the Bastrop EDC office at (512) 303-9700.