Careers After School, a program that educates students grades 6-12 about a variety of career paths through hands-on learning, returns later this month for the fourth consecutive year.

Sebastian Moraga

Sebastian Moraga, spokesman for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce developed this program in partnership with the Wenatchee School District and this year, it’s being sponsored by Wenatchee Valley College Foundation.

“The purpose of Careers after School is to connect students, and their support network, with our local business community,” said Shiloh Burgess, executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Through education, engagement, and exposure to multiple career options, we believe students in our region will be better equipped to make decisions about their future career goals.”

There are multiple pathways to career achievement, and it’s necessary for students to have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers.

“It’s an essential part of how we do career-connected learning in the Wenatchee School District,” said Diana Haglund, director of communications for WSD. “We were on the ground floor with the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce to develop this model four years ago. We believe by taking students to different workplaces, it exposes our youth to a multitude of career options, so they make the right choice once they graduate."

What makes Careers After School come alive for the students who participate is the experiential learning. The children who participate get to meet people in our community who work in the highlighted careers daily, experience the work and learn the path to a career in that field.

Rachel Evey, executive director of the WVC Foundation, said the college and foundation are proud to be chamber members.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to sponsor Careers After School. We look forward to partnering with the chamber to spotlight career opportunities in our valley, and the education pathways to these careers.”

Businesses hosting the students get a chance to develop a relationship with them, which allows the business to connect with the workforce of tomorrow.

Businesses see Careers After School™ as a chance to possibly produce homegrown talent and fill some of the workforce gaps in the Valley. By providing a learning experience to the youth of the Valley, they increase the chances of these youth coming back to the Valley as postsecondary graduates and starting a career, Haglund said.

“Anytime we can provide students with an inspiration, a way to ignite a passion in them, that’s when we know we have done our job,” Haglund said.

The Careers After School events are free of charge and open to students in grades 6-12, including home-school students, from across North Central Washington as well as parents and educators. Events tend to start around 5:30 p.m. and last for about two hours, once a month.

The first event is scheduled for Oct. 24 at Confluence Health. You may register online at wenatchee.org.

Sebastian Moraga is a spokesman for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. Reach him at sebastian@wenatchee.org.