South Valley teens get help with life after college from local business leaders

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local business leaders are helping to make sure South Valley teens have the tools they need to prepare for life after graduation. An event Thursday taught dozens of them important life skills that go beyond the classroom.

A group of South Valley sophomores got a break from their routine to learn the ABC's of making a good first impression. It all goes beyond having a firm handshake, and making eye contact.

This event is all part of a partnership between Visalia Unified and local business leaders. "A lot of people we get to talk to are successful and have been in our shoes at some point," said Aurora Langford a Mt. Whitney Student.

Edgar Blunt of Career Pillar Inc. explained, "It's important for kids to get real life experiences, to talk to people, to add context to things they're learning in school." Students got to sit in on panel discussions from experts in engineering, health and the Ag industry. And took notes in several breakout sessions, which included business fashion sense.

The group of about 150 students comes from three schools, who are all part of the National Academy Foundation. The program's goal is to give students a head start in learning about a particular career while in high school. "This is real world. This is a student conference, its not just workshops. A lot of college students don't even have the opportunity to have," said Theresa Polich, Visalia Unified.

Organizers of the event said this is just the first phase of the program. It also incorporates job shadowing the very same people who could end up hiring them one day. "I think we will have a lot more students who will stay in the community and whatever they do they will be better for it because of our partners commitment into their education," said Polich.

Students Action News spoke with say Thursday's presenters all received an A+. "I learned how to communicate better not to really avoid people," said 10th grader Skylar Kincaid from Mt. Whitney. Nicholas Jared from Golden West in Visalia, said, "I hope to get skills to help later in the future when I have a job and become what I want to be when I grow up."
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