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Vail Daily column: What did you want to do?

As area officials work to improve water quality in Gore Creek, the town of Vail is working on ways to involve private property owners, who own roughly 60 percent of the land along the creek through town.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |

Think back to your high school years. What did you want to do when you grew up?

A fortunate few knew exactly what field they wanted to study or what work they wanted to pursue. Perhaps they knew they wanted to be a doctor, because their mother was a doctor and her mother was a doctor before her. Or perhaps they knew they wanted to be a lawyer, because the world needs more lawyers (apologies to my attorney friends). In my case, I knew that I wanted to be in resort marketing but never expected to help run a chamber of commerce.

Understanding there are rare exceptions, let’s acknowledge that the majority of young adults are not sure what career field they want to pursue, and that they don’t know the plethora of career opportunities that exist (and recognize that’s OK and perfectly normal). Exposing our high school students throughout the valley — from Eagle Valley High School to Vail Mountain School, and from Red Canyon High School to Battle Mountain High School — to career exploration options is a continued focus of Eagle County Schools through their CareerX program.

CareerX brings Eagle County youth together with local businesses to create internship and job shadow experiences. The purpose is to allow high school students opportunities to explore careers, learn about local businesses and develop college and career plans that fit their interests. This leads to a broad variety of internship and job shadow experiences that allow students to expand their understanding of career opportunities and customize academic planning to fit career goals.

CareerX brings Eagle County youth together with local businesses to create internship and job shadow experiences. The purpose is to allow high school students opportunities to explore careers, learn about local businesses and develop college and career plans that fit their interests. This leads to a broad variety of internship and job shadow experiences that allow students to expand their understanding of career opportunities and customize academic planning to fit career goals.

This is aligned with the Eagle County Economic Development Plan, where providing support for a quality workforce is one of five identified goals. Support for a quality workforce includes issues related to housing, transit and workforce development. Further, the overarching goal of the Economic Development Plan is to promote the long-term economic health of Eagle County and solidify an economic base that is strong, diverse and resilient.

A quality workforce is necessary to achieve the goal of economic development, which is at its core about building sustainable communities that can thrive indefinitely. Put another way, sustainability (in this case, economic sustainability) is loosely defined as what people want to happen indefinitely. Further, consider that the goal of most people in Eagle County is (or arguably should be) to optimize long-term quality of life for our citizens and our community.

Businesses across all of our industry sectors should consider participating in the 2017 Eagle County Schools Career Fair. The Career Fair is a cooperative effort by the Eagle County Schools, Rotary Clubs of Eagle County, Vail Valley Partnership and the Colorado Workforce Center. We are organizing this opportunity to advance our common interest of keeping Eagle County and the Vail Valley as a great place to live, learn, work and do business. We need your participation to make this a successful event. 

 There is still room for businesses to participate in the 2017 Eagle County Schools Career Fair for students and businesses. We are looking for more than 100 companies in a variety of industries to be part of this event and the employees to share how they got started in their career and the pathway they took to get there. The fair will take place on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. (with set-up from 7:30 to 8 a.m.). 

With the Career and Job Fair, we have a win-win-win situation: 

Win for the companies 

• Promote your company.

• Identify and hire new future employees. 

• Provide work-study/internship/shadowing/summer job. 

• Network with other businesses. 

Win for the students 

• Find a job or career that they might have an interest in pursuing. 

• Explore careers and how they might get into a career. 

• Potentially participate in work study or internship (paid or unpaid) or shadowing or summer job. 

Win for the schools 

• Provide an avenue for students to explore careers. 

• Meet one of the state’s requirements of career exploration.

The event will take place Tuesday, April 4. The event will be open to students from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Battle Mountain High School. Exhibitor space is limited, so do not lose your opportunity to network with students and other businesses. Please sign up today, and you might help a high school student better define the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” 

For questions about the fair, contact Amanda Spannagel, amanda.spannagel@eagleschools.net 

To fill out the application, please see our online form at https://goo.gl/forms/bOxkVUPxo86VtAJ52 .

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.


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