Student giving speech
Fellows student Isabella giving a speech

On Friday, December 9, 2022, Junior Achievement of San Diego County hosted the semester showcase for JA Fellows students at Chula Vista Learning Community Charter High School (CVLCC) to share their stories and the impact the program has had on their lives.

Composed of 30 high school juniors, this is the first cohort of JA Fellows at CVLCC. JA Fellows aims to connect high school students to in-demand industries and careers in the San Diego region and equip students with critical social capital to prepare them for success. The program emphasizes hands-on learning opportunities that enable students to explore career pathways that fit their unique strengths and interests.

“Fellows opened so many doors for me. Doors I didn’t even know existed. I have been allowed to connect with people I never thought I’d connect with. They really opened up so many possibilities and made me consider fields I would never see myself interested in,” said Fellows student Erika.

Through on-site job shadows and in-class career panels, students got to meet and network with individuals from a range of different industries and learn about their career journeys. Students get to discover the possibilities out there for them with the understanding that career journeys are not always linear.

“I found so many great people, like my mentor Kevin. Our conversations were not only about business and finance and numbers and math, we had heart-to-heart conversations where he inspired me so much — and always made sure that I believe in myself and always made sure that I knew he believed in me,” said Fellows student Isabella.

Students were matched to a mentor from the business community to receive career and academic guidance. Students developed their communication skills and began to build their professional networks. These one-on-one mentor relationships help students gain valuable insights and the confidence needed to reach their fullest potential.

“This course has given me a lifetime of mistakes and given me a lifetime of knowledge. I have strengthened my communication skills. And, despite the numerous things that make me ideal for a job, advocating for myself, networking, and pushing is what will truly get me there,” said Erika.

Over the last few weeks, CVLCC Fellows visited Qualcomm, QuidelOrtho, and AGC Apprenticeship for on-site job shadows to learn about each industry and the different career pathways in these sectors. In the spring, the Fellows will be participating in paid internships to gain work experience in a field they are interested in pursuing.

“It truly is an honor that we are part of this program and that our students had the opportunity to get this hands-on learning experience,” said CVLCC Academic Counselor Abbey Calleros. “We are excited for next semester.”

In attendance at the showcase were sponsors of the program, program mentors, and community supporters including local government representatives.