Students, community members learn about alternate career options at ETHS


Colin Boyle/ Daily Senior Staffer

Students and parents mingle at Career Options Night. ETHS hosted their first fair highlighting careers that do not require a college degree.

Alane Lim, Reporter

Students, parents and community members learned about career pathways that do not need college degrees at a career event hosted at Evanston Township High School on Thursday.

ETHS hosted its inaugural Career Options Night, an open house showcasing career opportunities that do not require a college degree. The event — which included over 30 recruiters and organizations — included a career fair and informational sessions on pathways such as apprenticeships, military jobs and other work opportunities in Evanston.

ETHS postsecondary counselor Michelle Vazquez said the purpose of Career Options Night was to inform students, parents and the community about options after high school that do not include college. She added that ETHS has done other career-related events, like WorKIT Week and Military Visit Week.

“There’s an epidemic of … people getting into debt in this country because of education or wanting to get an education and not really thinking about the financial responsibilities that come into going into college,” Vazquez said. “There’s people here that are going to pay you to learn their career. … so we want the public to know about those. They deserve to know about them.”

The event was co-sponsored with the city, Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and the Youth Job Center, though ETHS was the primary sponsor, Vazquez said.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Bailey, who ran one of the tables at the fair, said jobs at the Air Force ranged from mechanical to information technology jobs, and that a college degree was not necessary for many of them.

“If you do have a college degree, you could come in with extra rank as an enlisted member or possibly come in as an officer,” Bailey said. “Our jobs are entry-level jobs that require no experience at all, so any job that somebody gets … we teach them from ground zero, all the way until they become totally proficient at that job.”

ETHS sophomore Rohit Patil said he came to the event because he wanted to explore job opportunities he might want to do after graduating high school. He said he was “open to anything.”

The career options event was the first career fair he attended, Patil said, adding that engineering was one path he was considering.

“These events could give me a good idea of my future, and the future is important to me,” Patil said.

Youth Job Center career advisor Erica Rodriguez said the event mattered because it pushes back on the idea that people have to attend college to succeed.

“For the last decade or so, there’s been this huge ‘college-for-all’ push,” Rodriguez said. “By trying to push everybody into college, we’re guaranteeing that some people are not going to be successful because that’s not the best fit for everybody. So this is putting all the options on the table to help everybody find their best fit so they can be successful.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @thisisalane