School-to-Careers director says program helps kids | RecordCourier.com
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School-to-Careers director says program helps kids

by Merrie Leininger

School-to-careers is a program that helps students learn about the variety of careers available and helps them get the experience they need to get into those careers.

Director Christie List makes it her personal mission to help those students who may not seem as if they have the brightest future.

“There is a stigma about kids who don’t go to college, but they couldn’t be in occupational education classes unless they are extremely bright. The graphic arts and construction tech students are among the best in the state,” List said.

n Love of the job. List’s love for the kids is apparent when talking to her. She became the director two years ago. She said she was working for a personal employment agency in Reno when she saw the internship director position advertised.

“At the time I was getting disillusion with the business. It was all about money and not about the people. I love kids, especially high school kids and wanted to make the move,” List said.

She said, however, that the experience she got at that job worked in her favor, because the district was looking for someone with a business background.

List still commutes from Reno, where she lives in a newlywed nest with her husband.

She said, although she has less interaction with students since she became the school-to-careers director a year ago, she still loves the feeling that she is making a difference in kids’ lives.

“Especially for those kids who are different, who do not get all the recognition. When a student like that finds something they love to do, something that interests them, that keeps them in school, I love that,” she said.

List oversees all the programs in the school-to-careers solar system, from K-12.

However, she humbly deflects all the attention, saying the work couldn’t be done without all the teachers and volunteers that work with the students.

“I am always calling business people and asking for favors and they never say no,” she said.

n Awards. The public is invited to see the kids List loves and their work up close at the school-to-career and occupational education outstanding student education awards ceremony 7 p.m. May 21 at the Top of the Wheel in Harvey’s Hotel and Casino.

Some students will also be receiving scholarships to further their careers.

“I want people to understand these kids are really outstanding. There will be examples of their work there,” List said. “These kids aren’t given the spotlight very often and they should.”

The outstanding business teacher of the year will also be recognized.

“They are always trying to find a solution when a problem comes up and they don’t look for recognition. It is going to be tough to pick that one.”

n Career fair. Another upcoming event for the district is a career fair held May 25 at the Douglas Campus of Western Nevada Community College.

“The focus is on non-traditional occupations, so the kids can understand there are so many things out there they may not realize,” List said.”Very few people are in the career they thought they would be in high school.”

She wants to help students by helping them find their niche early on.

Some of the people who will be there, talking about their job, are a male nurse and a female construction worker.

“I want to open people’s eyes to the possibilities. Not a lot of girls think about being a backhoe operator, but they make a lot more money than I do,” she said.

List said a high percentage of Douglas High School students want to start their own businesses, so local business owners have volunteered to be at the career fair also.

List is also a champion of the students who choose to not go to 4-year colleges.

“There is a stigma that if you don’t go to college, you’re not smart or successful. But all of us know people who went to 2-year schools or not at all and love their jobs. There’s nothing more successful than that.”

Anyone in a non-traditional job who would like to speak to students at the job fair can get more information from List at 782-4834.

n Resources. List is expanding her collection of career resources and hopes to have a complete career library by the next school year.

She is working on a career library that will have materials teachers can integrate into their classrooms that will allow them to work on their competency requirements while also getting information about careers.

Students will also be able to come get materials for career exploration projects.