Tag Archives: ITEP

Setting the Stage and Stealing the Show

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From left to right: Carol Rowen (ITEP founder), Jasmine Valdez (Banning High School-GSS Academy), Amy Grat (CEO of ITEP) during the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

“As the first day of school approached I was more and more convinced that I should drop out even before the first bell rang… I was going nowhere fast.”

On March 27th, Jasmine Valdez took the podium to tell her story to 700+ guests during our 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

The third-year GSS student from Phineas Banning High School shared her history of bad habits that started in middle school. She associated with the wrong crowd, skipped school, came home late, and experimented with drugs.

“I didn’t care who was affected by my mistakes, and laughed when people were hurt by the things I said and did,” said Jasmine.

It was hard to believe that the confident, young woman on stage was once a poor student who made bad decisions. As she exposed her less-than-perfect past through every completed sentence, she grew closer to completing her final “challenge” – an acceptance speech.

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Jasmine Valdez delivers her acceptance speech after receiving ITEP’s Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award during the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner.

Jasmine received the night’s memorable “Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award,” a recognition presented to the ITEP student who demonstrates the most dramatic turn-around.

Three years ago, with guidance from a close friend, Jasmine joined the GSS Academy. Soon after, she separated herself from the bad influences and substances and joined a new crowd, one composed of college-bound students willing to learn and industry leaders willing to coach. Her grades began to improve.

Jasmine went from a 1.5 GPA to a college-bound student and GSS academy council member. Her lunchtime now consisted of planning GSS events and activities with her peers.

“I am now meeting graduation requirements and was accepted to most of the colleges of my choice, ” added Jasmine.

“There is always hope, and always a second chance. It is never too late to pursue your dreams. If you work hard, everything is possible.”

Applause broke out.

Jasmine is an example of why we continue to bring industry professionals and students together to network and share a family-style meal. We unite the key puzzle pieces in our community to build stronger neighborhoods, youth and leaders. Yes, the scholarship awards are the treat of the night, but the interactions that begin and follow allow our ITEP “family” to craft future careers and fuel countless of college dreams.

In a few years, Jasmine will cross a stage for a second time – to accept her college diploma. We’re sure of that and so is she. We thank you for setting the stage and providing the inspiration.

Congratulations to Jasmine and all our 2014 scholarship winners and honorees!

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From left to right: ITEP Board Members – Stacey Jones (CH2M Hill), Caroline Brown (Bank of America), students from Banning High School’s ITA academy and Amy Grat (CEO of ITEP) at the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner.

Click through our event photos to see other great moments from our 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

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Filed under Banning High School, GSS, Wilmington

Collaboration Brings Successful Mixer to the Harbor Area

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1 + 1 + 1 adds up to more than 3! For the first time, ITEP partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of LA Harbor (BGCLAH) and joined San Pedro businessman, Mitch Harmatz from Plaza Automotive Center to organize an exclusive networking mixer for Harbor Area college graduates and employers. The first-ever “Careers for College Graduates” was held on January 7th and delivered a packed house to the Grand Annex with 109 attendees.

The power of partnership united local talent from San Pedro, Wilmington and beyond. Alumni from the BGCLAH College Bound Program and ITEP academies networked with representatives from top companies to explore entry-level roles and opportunities. Companies represented included Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, PS2 Engineering, Toyota, Total Terminals Inc., and Wells Fargo (just to name a few).

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Unlike other networking events, we kept things intimate and efficient with a small venue and essential details like pre-printed business cards and resumes for college graduates to share. Copies of local job listings were also available for our young professionals.

Special guests of the night included LA Harbor Commissioner and Boeing executive, Anthony Pirozzi, Octaviano Rios, Harbor Area representative from City of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, Elise Swanson, District Director for Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Ryan Ferguson, San Pedro Field Deputy for Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, and Miguel Cordova, Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi – thank you all for your attendance and contributions to the event!

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What grads and students said:
“I’ve been having such a blast. I’ve met a lot of great people and I’m walking out of this with a great learning experience – my social skills are developing, my communication skills are developing. Whether or not I walk out of here with a job, I walked out of here with something very valuable in my hands,” said Laura Orozco, ITEP alumna and UC Santa Barbara recent grad.

“I thought this event was pretty great because opposed to a lot of the bigger networking events at USC, this was very intimate and it’s not so competitive, and there’s not a huge line to talk to a specific person,” said Jacob Velasco, BGCLAH College Bound Program Alum and junior at USC.

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What business partners said:
“Very powerful event, great networking opportunity for the students and for us too… there were a lot of sharp individuals here – very professional and very driven,” said Anthony Pirozzi.

“What we have going on here in the next 5-10 years is going to be very transformative. We’re going to have a marine research center, we’re going to have a new development at Ports O Call – we’re going to have all these great opportunities, but it would be a disservice to our community if we didn’t take those amongst us along for the ride,” said Jack Baric from Baric Media Entertainment.

“It’s incumbent upon us to, as we’re creating these opportunities, to not only bring in new, fresh talent – which we desperately need – but to cultivate and nurture the talent that already exists here…” added Mr. Baric.

We couldn’t agree more!

Help us organize more events like these and develop our young workforce. Contact us for more details – we and our students welcome you with open arms, a few firm handshakes and the confidence to take on the world!

To view event photos, please visit our Facebook page.

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Filed under San Pedro, Wilmington

GPS Your Future 2013: More Than Just Numbers

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320 student attendees
27 exhibitors
25 ITEP staff, alumni, and board members
18 speakers
1 non-profit
1 university
1 community college

Who knew that an idea at an ITEP Board of Director’s retreat would’ve grown to this, even after just 4 years of inception? Our 4th Annual GPS Your Future event on October 11, 2013 had more to show off than BIG numbers. We had new additions, a revamped speaker series and stronger emphasis on new education initiatives; and it all happened within hours!

Like in previous years, trade, transportation and logistics were well-represented and well complemented by our new participants in the global business sphere – Avatronex, Prudential, StubHub Center, and Tesoro, just to name a few.

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The growth in exhibitors and participants made for an electrifying exhibit hall and recharged speaker sessions. Global industry professionals spoke about their “road to success” while sharing stories of personal and professional failure and success.

Higher education and technology also played a stronger role during the event. LA Harbor College represented their top programs (Architecture, Culinary Arts and Nursing) and were joined by CSU Dominguez Hills and the Fashion Institute of Merchandising and Design (FIDM). LA Harbor College counselors also led an interactive activity with the use of tablets, and a CSUDH Community College Outreach Officer presented a “how to transfer/get to college” session. Kudos to Sara, Dan and Pilar, our fantastic counselors/speakers! From career exploration to the discovery of an higher education pathway, ITEP students traveled through a road of their own in a matter of hours, and the results again spoke louder than any number.

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“Me, personally, all I wanted to do was go to the Marine Corps – that’s it – since I was about 6. Being here today, I figured out a few things I might want to do, like a marine biologist… or go into law enforcement – FBI, CIA, even a police academy. And it taught me something… if shoot for the moon and I miss, I’ll still land in the stars…” said Fernando, GBAC student at Carson High School.

Our teachers in attendance were also inspired.

“The questions you came up with and the interaction that you had with the adults who were presenting to you today – it was good. I was impressed,” said Holly Bowser, Lead Teacher for Barstow High School’s Mojave XP Academy, as she addressed her students.

“I learned a lot from this experience because of all of you.” And so did we.

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GPS Your Future continues to evolve thanks to our sponsors, supporters and team, and while the numbers will continue to grow (we’ll always strive for this), “bigger and better” will never be great without the time and talent from our business partners. Our students will continue to ask for more exhibitors, speakers and perhaps even cooler swag, but in the end, it’s the revamped or bigger dreams that make our event have plenty of heart. No big numbers can top that.

Want to get involved in GPS Your Future 2014 or other ITEP event? Let us know!

For event photos, check out our Facebook Page.

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Filed under Banning High School, Barstow High School, Cabrillo High School, Carson High School, Exploring Careers in Long Beach, Gardena High School, GBAC, GESA, GGLA, GSS, ITA, MATCH, Mojave XP, San Pedro High School, SPEA

NFL Player R.J. Stanford Tells Gardena High Teens to Never Quit

This post was originally published on the Daily Breeze and written by Brian Charles. Read the article here.

Miami Dolphins Cornerback, R.J. Stanford addresses ITEP students from Gardena High School's Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

Miami Dolphins Cornerback, R.J. Stanford addresses ITEP students from Gardena High School’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

Miami Dolphins cornerback R.J. Stanford doesn’t believe in quitting, though he had plenty of chances to in his life.

“No white flags,” he said to a crowd of teenagers at Gardena High School on Wednesday. “Don’t surrender.”

Not the fastest or the biggest, the 25-year-old from Chino didn’t make it to the NFL just because of the number of eye-popping big plays he made during his time at the University of Utah.

No, it was old fashioned perseverance that carried the one-time D student through college and to professional football.

“Failure doesn’t exist when you don’t quit,” Stanford said to the more than 500 at-risk students from the Gardena Global Leadership Academy at Gardena High School.

The academy prepares students for careers in international trade. Many who attend the school come from low-income families and are considered at-risk teens. Each month, speakers from the world of business, politics and entertainment lecture the students on how to push through to success.

GGLA teacher, Ms. Lakisha Clark accepts a signed Miami Dolphins football from R.J. Stanford. (Photo credit: UPS)

GGLA teacher, Ms. Lakisha Clark accepts a signed Miami Dolphins football from R.J. Stanford. (Photo credit: UPS)

Stanford’s “never-quit” mantra was born out of struggle, and in some cases self-imposed obstacles that tripped him up on the way to the NFL.

A natural athlete, Stanford wasn’t nearly as committed to his studies. “I wasn’t dumb, but I was a little lazy,” he told the students.

Early on at Chino High School, Stanford scored poor marks on his report card, began running with the wrong crowd and partied a little too hard. “I was that kid sleeping in the back of the classroom,” he said.

Colleges that initially showed some interest in Stanford began to have second thoughts about offering him a football scholarship. That’s when his mother, LaShawn Stanford, didn’t quit on her son. She decided to show up to school and sat in his first-period class.

“R.J. showed up to first period 20 minutes late with a bag of McDonalds,” she said.

La Shawn Stanford (UPS and ITEP Advisory Board Member for GGLA) became more involved when her son's grades began to slip and even visited him during school. (Photo credit: UPS)

La Shawn Stanford (UPS and ITEP Advisory Board Member for GGLA) became more involved when her son’s grades began to slip and even visited him during school. (Photo credit: UPS)

He got the message from his mom. After that, his grades improved and he was offered a scholarship to the University of Utah.

In 2010, he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round of the NFL draft. He played two years with the Panthers before signing with the Dolphins in 2012.

With a week off from NFL action, Stanford flew back across the country to spend time with his mother, who still lives in Chino but serves on the board of directors of the Gardena Global Leadership Academy.

“The kids are constantly looking for role models and inspiration,” said Rob Vickery, chairman of the Gardena Global Leadership Academy board. “R.J. had some challenges and I thought he was a good person for kids to meet.”

Stanford’s talk with the students was anything but the typical lecture to at-risk kids. For example, he quizzed the students on how they plan to attain their goals.

“What does it mean to be a professional?” he asked.

The students’ hands flew up.

Most said being a professional means getting paid for your work rather than doing it for free.

Stanford agreed but added a little more detail to what being a professional truly means to him.

“A professional does something until they can’t get it wrong; an amateur does it until they get it right.”

Even with his success on the gridiron, Stanford told the students that football has never been the ultimate measure of his success.

“Football is only a platform. How well you do in school will decide how well you will do in life,” he said.

As her son stood on the stage talking to the students, LaShawn Stanford was beaming with pride.

“I am so glad to see R.J. go in the direction I had hoped he would go in,” she said. “He’s very involved with the community, very involved with his church. He goes to Chino High School in the offseason and trains with the players.”

Perhaps explaining why it’s important for him to give back, Stanford told the students about a gift, a tool set, his grandfather willed to him. The gesture was both touching and served as a lesson for him.

“Let me not wait till I am on my death bed to leave people my tools.”

The Stanford family receives a warm welcome by ITEP students in Gardena's Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

The Stanford family receives a warm welcome by ITEP students in Gardena’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

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View more event photos on the ITEP Facebook Page.

A heartfelt thank you to GGLA students, faculty and advisory board members for organizing this special event, especially La Shawn Stanford (UPS), Rob Vickery (BNY Mellon) and the rest of the Stanford family.

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Filed under Gardena High School, GGLA