Health Career Expo Hosted in Santa Cruz County for High School Students
On November 4th, 2023, the Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County (HIP) in partnership with Your Future Is Our Business (YFIOB) and Cabrillo College, hosted its first-ever Health Career Expo for high school and college students across Santa Cruz County. Approximately 135 students from the following high schools attended the event: Scotts Valley, San Lorenzo Valley, Pajaro Valley, Diamond Tech Institute, Costanoa, Delta, and Santa Cruz County Alternate Education. Students had the opportunity to meet and speak with 25 employers and training programs to learn more about healthcare career options. Among the employers tabling at the expo included Encompass Community Services, Hospice of Santa Cruz, Janus of Santa Cruz, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Montage Health, Salud Para La Gente, Santa Cruz Community Health Centers, and Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency and more. Yvette Brooks, Executive Director of YFIOB remarked, “This year's event was more than we could have envisioned. Students were able to engage in meaningful career exploration opportunities available to them in Santa Cruz County and classroom tours. I look forward to doing this again next year.”
Approximately 78 students toured Cabrillo College’s Allied Health facilities, including the nursing, medical assistant, and radiology classrooms and labs. Sarah, a student at Diamond Tech Institute interested in nursing, shared, "It was nice to see the classrooms where I am going to come when I study to become a nurse." This event provided students like Sarah, attending school in Watsonville, the opportunity to visit Cabrillo College’s Aptos campus and to connect with representatives from local healthcare training programs at Cabrillo College, CSU Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and Watsonville Aptos Santa Cruz Adult School. Cabrillo College academic counselors were also available at the expo to guide students on their academic plans.
YFIOB, a local non-profit, aims to provide every Santa Cruz County student with opportunities to discover a fulfilling and successful career. The organization brings schools and businesses together to support students in becoming Santa Cruz County’s next generation of workers. With Cabrillo College hosting the event and HIP, a local non-profit coalition of public and private healthcare organizations, inviting partners to attend, the event was a successful partnership between all three entities. “When we conducted our listening tour of healthcare organizations at the beginning of 2022, we consistently heard from participants that they wanted opportunities to engage with youth early on to share the various healthcare career options with them”, says Hayley Mears, Workforce Development Program Manager at HIP and Executive Board Member at YFIOB, “I reached out to YFIOB to inquire if a county-wide health career expo was possible, and they engaged Cabrillo College to host the event.”
Cabrillo College’s Employment and Internship Office facilitated hosting the event at the Aptos campus in the cafeteria, “Cabrillo values opportunities to engage with high school students, employers, and local non-profits. This event was a wonderful partnership that provided students with exposure to a variety of career options in healthcare and a chance to tour our allied health programs. We look forward to hosting this again next year” says Desha Staley-Raatior, Career Development Director at Cabrillo College. The success of the event and positive feedback from employers, students, and teachers, affirm the goal to offer the Health Career Expo annually for high school and college students in Santa Cruz County with continued partnership between HIP, YFIOB, and Cabrillo College. Amy Paul, a college and career advisor at Scotts Valley High School commented, “Our students got a lot out of the expo that you put on. Thank you for all of the hard work that you put into the day. It was very evident that a lot of time went into it.”