Category Archives: Wilmington

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