Los Barrios de Amarillo in partnership with Workforce Solutions Panhandle held its EPIC Success career fair on Wednesday to help students navigate life after high school.
The EPIC Success fair, formerly known as Step Up to Success, included 21 schools from Amarillo and the surrounding area, including private schools. The fair had 637 students registered to attend, officials said.
One student, Autumn Woods of Pampa High School, spoke about her planned future career as a veterinarian and how the fair allowed her to make connections that she otherwise wouldn’t have.
“I don’t think I would know as many resources and colleges, and have those contacts with people and be able to reach out and say 'I need help with this'. I don’t think I would have those resources if I didn’t come here,” Woods said.
Mary Bralley, president of Los Barrios de Amarillo, said that the group changed the career fair from its original format to allow students to become more engaged.
“We’ve always done career fairs, but assembly style, and we decided that’s not really doing anything for our students. You have to actually engage them in different careers, so we decided that we're going to have specific careers, and we're going to have professionals in those different career sessions to talk to students, have a hands-on opportunity, just let them know what is it really like to be in that field,” Bralley said.
“They actually get to talk one on one in a smaller group setting so they can go to different college and career fairs and visit different exhibitor booths, which we have here today, but in a classroom setting, we have 40, 50, 60 students and the speaker is saying 'what questions do you have for me?',” she added.
The event scheduled 32 sessions with 40 speakers from different professions and fields of study for students to choose from and attend. Outside of the speakers, the fair had 32 exhibitor booths where students could ask questions about the positions, talk to potential colleges, apply for scholarships, and gain general life knowledge.
Booth coordinator Jenni Williams, director of admissions for Texas Tech School of Pharmacy, shared what she hoped to help students accomplish at the event.
“We hope to empower them to think beyond what they are used to thinking, whatever they know about all of these employers, just thinking outside of that. We want them to be able to see themselves as a potential doctor someday, and believe that they are capable of those things because they are, and we want them to have big dreams for themselves,” Williams said.
In the noon rotations, all students attended additional sessions in which they were able to ask questions and discuss important life information such as how to buy a car with Education Credit Union representatives and the importance of healthcare with BSA Health System officials.
The EPIC Success career fair was free to all students attending and included lunch.
According to Bralley, this is one of the two college and career conferences that they offer to students in Amarillo and the surrounding area in hopes of preparing students for their future beyond high school.