Each year, United Way Bay Area hosts our On Track Career Expo to engage youth in hands-on demos and career coaching to learn about various professional paths and industries that many have never been exposed to.
Despite being virtual this year, On Track maintained its interactivity and engaged nearly 70 youth and 40 volunteers from across the Bay Area on a virtual events platform. Thanks to our sponsors Bank of America, Capital One, EBay, and Oakland Fund for Children and Youth we were able to send out demo kits that allowed youth to participate in robotics and solar car demonstrations, as well as, computer coding exercises among others.
During each session, youth heard about coaches’ career journeys, asked questions, and got advice. Attendee Frida P. appreciated the openness and reassurance, “The speakers didn’t sugarcoat their experience … they told us that they also struggled and didn’t know what they wanted to do and how it was alright.”
On Track featured seven different Industries and demos which included constructing a coffee robot with hardware engineer, Blaze Sanders; following a shaken iced tea recipe with Starbucks managers, Kate Markel and Shawn Ray; and getting an intro to the basics of coding with Bank of America’s Mobile Engineering team. Along with the demos, presenters discussed the multitude of career pathways and departments within their companies. Youth attendee, Alejandra L. shared, “I was inspired by Meg because I never really see women engineers and it was nice being able to talk with her.”
After participating in the Architecture demo, Chun H. said, “I had a broader perspective of different jobs and careers. I am on the path of studying architecture and the architecture workshop by Mr. Reavis gave me better insight into the path we need to take in order to get licensed and working at a firm.”
At the end of the 2.5-hour event, attendees joined the Main Stage to share their final thoughts and gift card winners were announced. The event closed out with all participants unmuting their mics and giving a thank you to the demo hosts and coaches.
Here’s what youth and coaches had to say:
“It helped me with my future goals by helping me decide that I do want to go to college.” -Yarely P.
“I was inspired by this whole event. Amazing people were here today to give us advice and tell us what they did for a living.” –Arianna R.
“This event further reminded me that your degree or experience doesn’t force you into a specific industry. As long as you have drive or passion for it, you can still pursue something relating to it.” –Madisen Y.
“I could tell a lot of organization and planning went into the event and the staff was knowledgeable and well organized. Thank you for keeping the volunteers informed and for being such gracious energetic hosts.”- Erica Jones, Bank of America volunteer coach
Thanks to all the youth and volunteer coaches who made our virtual On Track a success! To learn more about On Track click here.