Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program provided more than 120 high school students with an inside look at exciting career paths right here in Orange County at three top local employers: the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Kelley Blue Book, and Google Fiber.
Ruby knew the opportunity was too amazing to pass up.
In early February, she was one of several dozen Anaheim High School students chosen to participate in a unique tour of Google Fiber’s innovative offices in Irvine, where she and fellow classmates received an inside look at multiple and exciting career paths right here in Orange County.
As someone who plans to pursue a career in one of the STEAM fields — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — Ruby said the tour was invaluable. She and her classmates were invited to meet Google employees and ask them questions. Students listened to presenters from a variety of different departments, from software engineering and product management to ad sales, Google Fiber, Nest and Cloud products. Each presenter reflected on their own career journey and shared some life-lessons with students.
“This experience stuck with me deeply,” Ruby said. “This experience will stick with me and help me pursue a STEAM career.”
Ruby’s sentiment was echoed by many other Orange County high school students who gained valuable insights and career exposure at some of the region’s top employers and professional organizations in early February. Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program is designed to create connections between classroom learning and offer students one-of-a-kind learning opportunities in a real-world setting to inspire students’ college and career paths forward.
During the industry site visits, students were given an all-access pass to what a career would look like at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Kelley Blue Book and Google Fiber. Orange County students had an exciting day exploring a diverse spectrum of developments and industry sectors while engaging in critical dialogue as they become aware of different career opportunities at each one of the Orange County United Way partners. In addition, they learned the importance of networking and developing interpersonal skills to be successful in life.
These special site visits give students the opportunity to explore career choices while still in school, so they can hone in on their interests and passion before fully committing to an educational or career pathway.
An Investigative Look into the Orange County Sheriff Regional Training Academy
In an exciting new partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the newly elected Sheriff Don Barnes hosted students and staff at the Regional Training Academy in Tustin, a modern 53,000-square-foot facility situated on 15 acres at Tustin Legacy. Students explored different career options within the law enforcement agency serving Orange County, including CSI positions and working in the crime lab van.
As Sheriff Barnes said, “The actions you take today will impact you in the future. My only wish and goal for you all is to think about how you are setting yourself up for success for tomorrow.”
The response from the participating students was incredible.
Nothing compares to the experience I had today, it was cool being able to look inside law enforcement. – Chloe, Garden Grove High School student.
I loved this experience, it was so much better than what I expected. – Naomi, Garden Grove High School student.
Irvine Career Discovery Day
For the first time ever, United Way joins forces with the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce to connect students with innovative companies in Irvine. Google and Kelley Blue Book opened their doors to over a hundred students in Orange County.
A Career-Driven Exploration Day at Kelley Blue Book
The next day, 30 students from Santiago High School in Garden Grove were invited to visit and tour the Kelley Blue Book facility in Irvine to learn more about information and communications technology, and the work of the automotive research company. Students participated in a series of workshops to learn about different departments and career opportunities within Kelley Blue Book, and as a special surprise, they also got to see a free car show displaying some of the company’s most innovative vehicles.
The most interesting thing I learned today was that you need to be confident and take risks. – Joel, Santiago High School student.
Google Employees Give Back to the Community
During the third industry site visit in February, seventy-five enthusiastic students of Anaheim High School had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet Googlers in their creative workspace in Irvine. Through the Youth Career Connections program, United Way connected students participating in the Information, Communications and Technology pathways to a day filled with inspirational stories.
Fred Faber, Google software engineer and site lead, said, “Many of us remember how daunting choosing a career path seemed when we were students, so we’re excited to play a part in encouraging local youth by hosting this year’s Career Discovery Day at Google Irvine.”
This site visit left a profound impression on Ruby, and her peers, it may have even changed or helped shape their future trajectory.
Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program infuses classroom learning with real-world experiences, bringing experiential learning to extend student career exploration beyond the classroom. Participating local businesses are given a unique opportunity to shape and inspire the next generation of leaders, and set them on a path of success in future employment. For companies, it’s an unmatched opportunity to have a profound impact on Orange County’s students; and for students, it’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get an inside look at many exciting potential career paths.
Is your company looking to provide an opportunity to Orange County high school students to gain real-world workplace experience?
The deadline to sign up for this summer internship is March 30th.