Selling Tracy to the students

Minnwest Bank’s Darcy Carlson talks to Tracy Area High School students, from left, Elizabeth Fultz, Sydney LaVoy and Jordan Munson during last week’s career fair. Photos / Per Peterson

Career fair aimed at bringing youth back to town after high school returns to Tracy

By Per Peterson

Tracy Area High School guidance counselor Sonja Gasca grew up in Tracy, went off to college at Dakota State University across the border in South Dakota, and came back to start her career. Her path, she said, can be an example for today’s high schoolers.

“My daughter knows that was a good thing for me,” Gasca said. “We want to bring kids back and show them that there are opportunities.”

Those opportunities were showcased at the Veterans Memorial Center last Wednesday at the second annual Careers 2 Come Home To event, a collaboration of the school district and the City of Tracy.

“I feel like it’s a really good representation of the opportunities that are here,” Gasca added, noting that while a number of businesses in Tracy have closed over the last few years, others have opened.

“I feel like we’re coming out of it,” she said. “I do feel like things are turning around.”

Every student who attended the career fair — sophomores, juniors and seniors — were charged with filling out a form describing their experience. Each student had to visit three businesses or organizations and ask certain questions pertaining to that field, such as how they got started in their business, what their starting salary was, what are some related jobs, what subjects they should focus on in high school, what is the job market in their field like and if there are job opportunities available in the region. This was the first time students actually had an assignment pertaining to their visit to the career fair.

“We asked them to visit three of the careers and get a little bit of information,” Gasca said. “We wanted them to have their own conversations. We also gave them some questions they can ask to get the conversation going. They were required to visit three of the spots and get some background information about the schooling that it requires. It was a nudge, like, ‘You’ve got to do this to get the conversation going.’”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.