Making “Career Day” into a career

Richard Allen walked the halls of Centaurus High School during What Can YOU Do Day and watched with pride as students discovered the many careers they could one day have.

The career fair, which included demonstrations and hand’s on activities, is an offshoot of another career fair called Dream Higher, which was also held at CHS in Lafayette. Allen, his partner, Matt Kaspari, and Debbie Trujillo, chair of the Board of Directors at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, were the masterminds behind the day’s activities.

Dream Higher focused on bringing in leaders from the Latino community to provide Latino high school students with role models, and as Allen noted, to show Anglo kids that stereotypes aren’t always true.

What Can YOU Do Day had a wider aim.

“Usually career fairs are something that happen in college,” Allen said. “But we knew we needed to start younger to help motivate these kids to stay in school and get an education.”

The diverse group of businesses in attendance included Apple, several banks, the military, non-profit organizations, the FBI, and even a Boulder-based robotics company called Orbotix.

“We want to spark the student’s interest in the future, and help them to see themselves as successful,” Trujillo said. “At this age, it can be easy to just see the four walls of school, but we want them to start thinking about their talents and using their education to help follow their dreams,” she said.

As successful as the day was, Allen hopes it’s only the beginning.

“Eventually we want to turn what we are doing into a (non-profit organization), as well as some online video conferencing for anyone who is willing to talk, but just can’t make it to the school,” he said.

Allen said that while many schools love the idea of holding career fairs, many do not have access to the necessary resources and are understaffed and overworked as it is.

“When we did Dream Higher, we were surprised to find that schools had no access to professionals,” he said.

Allen’s eventual goal is to be a “one-stop-shop” for all the resources schools and businesses would need to connect.

“All we would do is this,” Allen said.

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