Career Connections 2017
You have options. That was the unofficial theme of the third annual Career Connections in Government. The event was held at the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington on March 2, 2017.
Three years ago, we started Career Connections to connect the federal community and students in Region 10. Career Connections helps students learn about career options, hear real-life guidance, and helps us increase the diversity and strength of the future federal workforce. This year, 40 federal employees from ACF, HHS, and other agencies volunteered to create a memorable experience for 22 students from three local high schools: Kent Phoenix Academy, Rainier Beach High School, and Seattle Urban Academy.
Staff shared personal stories and the journey to their federal career.
Darryl Means, Deputy Regional Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, discussed his childhood experiences. His mother made sure he went to programs, like Career Connections that showed him there were more opportunities. “Those programs gave me options, which are what you have here today.”
Each story was unique. Lieutenant Commander Jesus Reyna worked as a migrant farm worker through high school. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he didn’t want to be a farm worker for the rest of his life. In the end, he’s “been pretty busy since I’ve joined the Corp, and it’s the best thing that happened to me.”
Students interviewed feds to learn about their career paths, day-to-day tasks, and what they liked or disliked about their jobs. They also asked questions and discussed their own career aspirations. When asked about what they remembered from their interviews, Kate Flynn stated, “It’s okay to move from job to job and explore what you want to do.”
After lunch, students explored tables at the Career Fair to learn more about job opportunities.
The students also attended one of three Life Skills sessions. They learned about basic financial skills, transitioning to living on their own, and college financing. They also took a brief trip to the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory. There, students had more time to interact with staff and each other before going home.
Students left the event empowered, with more options, and in some cases, contacts they could connect with in the future to help realize their dreams.