Tag Archives: Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network

ITEP explores careers in Long Beach with S.W.A.G!

Teens pondering the universal question, “What do I want to do with my life?” often have no clue where to begin, much less how to set and reach their goals.  Luckily, for a small group of Long Beach youth, the journey to find a career is about to get a little easier…and a lot more fun!

Starting Fall 2012, ITEP is excited to launch a new program: Exploring Careers in Long Beach.  This after-school career exploration program will provide youth with opportunities for personal development and hands-on exploration of key industries and employers in greater Long Beach.

Exploring Careers in Long Beach is being piloted as Students With Ambitious Goals (aka S.W.A.G.) with 50 sophomores from Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, where administrators and teachers are eager to offer experiential linked learning opportunities for their students.  Assistant Principal Matthew Brown notes, “when schools are working hard to make high school relevant, it is amazing to have a program that truly shows our students what opportunities exist right in their own back yard. And, with businesses getting directly involved, it helps schools more effectively align with what students should be learning to succeed in local industries.”

Through a progressive program of twice-monthly excursions, S.W.A.G. participants will explore hot jobs in cool industries such as Global Trade, Transportation, Health Care, Environmental, Energy, Engineering, Law and Government, as well as explore career opportunities available in the skilled trades and through entrepreneurship.  Youth will build meaningful connections with industry leaders who will guide them in their career exploration.

ITEP has partnered with Exploring/Learning for Life to organize Exploring Careers in Long Beach as an official explorer post and has built a volunteer Advisory Board made up of Long Beach business, education, workforce and community leaders who will guide its strategy and direction.  ITEP Board Member and Exploring Careers Advisory Board Chair, Stacey Jones of CH2M HILL notes, “The Exploring Careers program will give us [ITEP] a great opportunity to broaden our industry-based educational programs into Long Beach, to provide high school sophomores with hands-on experience learning about the highest-demand industries in Long Beach, and to expand their understanding of the real career choices out there.”

S.W.A.G.’s Kick-off Orientation for students and parents in late September will feature a keynote presentation by Damon Dunn, Long Beach business and civic leader, who will share his own journey from abject poverty to stunning success.

In October, S.W.A.G. will highlight the Global Trade industry, beginning with a life expectations session led by representatives from Matson, NYK Line, and the Port of Long Beach, hosted at Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.  Later in the month, participants will follow up with a visit to each company’s facilities at the Port, where they will board a container ship and meet industry representatives who will share their exciting careers the shipping and logistics industries.

As this is a pilot program, there are still many opportunities to get involved.  ITEP is actively seeking sponsors to help us defray program costs.  Special thanks to Tesoro for coming on board as our very first corporate sponsor! We are also still looking for volunteers to help with monthly excursions and host site visits.  

For more information contact Program Coordinator, Gabriela Perez at gabriela@itepinc.org

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This ITEP Program Isn’t Just A Summer Job, It’s About Self Development…

They may be young, but don’t call them kids.  Or children, for that matter.  According to Martin Chavez, Human Resources Division Officer for the Port of Los Angeles and Director of the 2011 ITEP/POLA Summer Internship Program, the fifty-four young men and women participating this year should be called students and held to this standard in terms of seeking knowledge and personal responsibility.  “A kid is a baby goat…something less than human and not deserving of our respect or investment. Our students need to see themselves as worthy.”  Chavez helps his students achieve this goal by constantly holding them to the highest standards and employing a “tough love” approach.  The result has been 12 years of successfully helping students realize their potential and learn to take pride in themselves, while acquiring hands-on work experience. “This program isn’t just a summer job, it’s about self development” said Chavez.

Since its launch in 2001, the ITEP/POLA Internship Program has grown from 15 companies and 15 International Trade Academy (ITA) students to this year’s class of 54, which includes participants from all four ITEP Academies at Banning High School.  This year 35 companies and organizations are participating. In addition to the Port of Los Angeles, which alone takes 14 interns in nine of its departments, other selected maritime industry employers include ACTA, APL, Cal Cartage, SA Recycling, Moffatt & Nichol, U.S. Coast Guard, and Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals.  For the first time this year, the Program will welcome three Global Business Academy (GBA) interns from Carson High School to participate in the Friday workshops.

An exciting development this year is the addition of Gabriela Perez as the new Intern Coordinator.  Perez will take over for Cynthia Jaime who set the bar in terms of program implementation and became a fixture among the Banning students. In her final year at UCLA, Gabriela is a product of the ITEP/POLA Internship Program. In 2006 she interned in POLA’s Financial Management division. Chavez noted, “I always hoped to close the loop, see a student complete the program, attend college, and  give back to the program.”  Over the past four years at the annual Internship Culmination Ceremony, students have given their heartfelt thanks to Jaime’s dedication and commitment to ensuring their success in completing the program. Soon Gabriela Perez will be receiving her own kudos from students.

Working alongside Chavez and Perez this year is Eli Romero, Program Specialist in the Youth Opportunity Center of the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.  Eli has done a phenomenal job in recruiting employers for the program, as well as assisting students to be successful in their internships.

ITEP thanks everyone who has helped make this program successful, including the 35 employers who are hosting our interns. Chavez notes, “We can’t turn students around in two months, but we can give them a whole lot of ideas to turn themselves around. Hopefully every student learns something and carries it with them.

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