Take charge of today and plan for tomorrow. Earlier this fall, this is exactly what over 580 ITEP students did during our annual GPS Your Future event, held at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). Here are the 5 things our students learned during the event:
1. It’s never too early to network
ITEP students explored our biggest expo hall to date! With more exhibitors this year than ever before (31 total), students had the opportunity to explore a variety of booths manned by great event sponsors and supporters like the Port of Los Angeles, Bank of America, Long Beach City College, SoCalGas, DoubleTree Hotel Carson, and trades represented by Ironworkers Local Union 416 and Pile Drivers Local 2375.
Hard hats and suits came together to educate our young leaders on life after high school and career options in their communities. Students who envisioned following one career path left the day curious to explore a new track. One ITEP student from Phineas Banning High School revealed that he was always interested in becoming an engineer, but after speaking with a U.S. Coast Guard representative, he is considering a new career.
2. Let the fear go and ask questions
Students (and even some professionals) are often afraid to ask questions. Our thoughts sometimes get the best of us and we hold back and the exploration process stops. GPS Your Future was created to spark curiosity and give students a forum to begin navigating and discovering a brighter future. In order to help the exploration process, all ITEP students and exhibitors participated in a “Ticket to Success” activity. Each student received a “ticket” that was filled with a sticker every time they asked a compelling question to an exhibitor. At the end of the event, the top three students who collected the most stickers received a reward. Shout out to Gardena and Dorsey High Schools for asking terrific questions and making the most of our expo hall!
3. Always dress for success
Will Rogers said it best: “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Even as a high school freshman, you never know whom you might meet at your next field trip or an event like GPS Your Future. ITEP students took note and dressed as young professionals, not typical freshmen. Even our exhibitors and speakers commented on how impressed they were with our students. Check out how sharp they looked!
4. Love what you do, always
Our students heard firsthand life lessons from our keynote speaker, Anthony Pirozzi, Director of Systems Integration, Test and Launch at Boeing. Mr. Pirozzi also serves on the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission and is a San Pedro High School alum. His love for electronics and STEM started at a very young age while fixing televisions with his father. Today, he launches satellites into space.
“I didn’t know I was going to do this… I can put a satellite in space, but I still can’t fix a television. When you’re in something that you love, you find a way to continue to grow and with that comes different rewards,” exclaimed Pirozzi.
Another Boeing employee, Jesse Gomez, shared the stage with Mr. Pirozzi. Mr. Gomez is a System Engineering Lead and a big STEM proponent. His road to success began while serving in the U.S. Army as a Flight Operations Specialist. Thank you, Boeing for introducing ITEP students to STEM and promoting the success of all youth.
5. Be enthusiastic
Our students were in the best environment to practice great eye contact and firm handshakes. The expanded expo hall allowed for many one-on-one conversations and small breakout rooms provided an intimate classroom atmosphere so that even the most shy attendee felt welcomed. This year, we also utilized CSUDH’s Financial Market Trading and Business Simulation Lab, which enabled students to feel like they were in the middle of Wall Street. A 22-foot-wide LED ticker tape and 110-inch video wall displayed current news from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We’re sure tomorrow’s stockbroker was allured and impressed!
Whether it’s a job in finance, the goods movement, STEM, or hospitality, GPS Your Future makes options visible and attainable for ITEP students. The event is just the beginning of many career dreams. The rest is yet to be written, so stay tuned.
To view additional event photos, please visit our Facebook Page here.
A special thank you to our event sponsors: CSU Dominguez Hills, California Community Colleges-Doing What Matters for Global Trade and Logistics hosted by Long Beach City College, Watson Land Company, Los Angeles World Airports, Los Angeles Harbor College, Real Property Collaborative, Bank of America, Comerica, and Santa Monica College.