Twenty-six professionals shared their stories with Delta High School juniors last week, exposing the students to careers in education, engineering, natural resources, health, the military, communications, cosmetology and more. School counselors organized the event so students could gain insight into possible career pathways from real life professionals.
The juniors rotated through three "Career Talks," while the seniors learned financial literacy, the sophomores took the ASVAB test and freshmen honed their self-advocacy skills.
At one Career Talk, Wendy Shima, Technical College of the Rockies, and Stacy Tindall, Great Beginnings Preschool, introduced a new program that will prepare students for employment in child care centers and preschools.
Students may have years of babysitting experience or caring for younger siblings, but that doesn't qualify them for employment in early childhood education, Shima and Tindall stressed. Early childhood teachers must have an understanding of children's cognitive, physical, emotional and social development, and be able to employ a variety of teaching methods to meet each child's needs.
The new course to be offered through the Technical College of the Rockies will combine online instruction with volunteer internships at local preschools. Beginning in January, the course will be available to high school students in Delta, Gunnison and Telluride. Students will receive both high school and college credit for the courses.
After completion of four online courses and the internship, students will graduate with early childhood teacher certification. Students can begin working in the field, or apply the college credits they've earned to an associate or bachelor degree. College-bound students can find employment at preschools or child care centers to help with college expenses, Shima and Tindall pointed out.
"We wanted to highlight all careers, not just those requiring a four-year degree," said Shawna Magtutu, school counselor, who added her appreciation for all the program participants.
"We had such an overwhelming response from our amazing community that we had to turn several professionals away, and we also had to 'partner' a few people with similar professional backgrounds. It's a wonderful problem to have!"