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Student Travels Three Hours to Attend Greater Irvine Chamber Career Edge Workshop

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

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The Greater Irvine Chamber’s award-winning Career Edge program is growing, reaching its highest attendance yet for a single workshop. And, students who make an effort to attend say it is well worth it. Fullerton College student and aspiring entrepreneur Cristihan Sales Carrera commuted for three hours by bus and bicycle, to attend the Oct. 5 Career Edge workshop.

“I left my house on a bike at about 5:45 a.m. to catch the bus at 6 a.m. The morning was still crisp when I arrived in Irvine; I enjoyed the two-mile bike ride to the Greater Irvine Chamber,” Carrera said. “Attending this workshop would give me a chance to practice my leadership and social skills by meeting inspiring individuals who are passionate in the industry they work for. I could not miss this event!”

Carrera was among 50 Orange County high school, college, and university students who attended the workshop, Effective Business Communication, instructed by Dr. Roopa Mathur, chair and professor, School of Business Sciences, Irvine Valley College.

“I felt like the best young entrepreneur of the century, and I was ready to conquer the day by learning, asking questions, and providing my ideas to other students attending and leaders mentoring the workshop,” Carrera said.

During the workshop, Carrera and fellow attendees learned the importance of proofreading emails, how to listen to colleagues instead of assuming what they need or want, and how to analyze varying audiences. Students were also provided the opportunity to begin growing their networks.

“When the workshop was over, a fellow classmate—and new friend—gave me a ride back home,” Carrera said. 

Career Edge is presented in collaboration with Google, Irvine Valley College, Webster University, and the business community. Courses are designed to inspire, inform, and empower students as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Serving as volunteer mentors for the October workshop were Dr. Blessing Akpofure, GBL International; Brian Andersen, Telecomprehensive Solutions; Karen K. Bannister, Karen K. Bannister International, LLC;Fritzie Canas, Irvine Valley College; Eva Cheung, oConsulting; Caecilia Gotama, BRDG: Bridge to Connect; Thomas Lotts, New York Life Insurance Co.; Carlos Oregon, Thinkbox Technology Group; Deanna Palmer, OC One Stop Center; Pepper Russell, Greater Irvine Chamber; and Dr. Marlene Swider, OC Community Colleges.

The Chamber’s career readiness program, Career Edge, is a simple but important solution to a challenge that Orange County companies face: new employees who arrive with the knowledge and technical skills necessary but lack satisfactory business writing, presentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Workshops are facilitated by volunteer mentors and presenters from a variety of professions.

Students that participate in Career Edge will have an advantage during their job search and will bring distinctive and marketable soft skills to the jobs they land, greatly increasing their success rate and on-the-job performance. Upon completion of an individual workshop, or the series, students receive a certificate of completion, and a letter of completion/recommendation from the Chamber. There is no fee for student participation.

The next workshop, Successful Business Etiquette and Workplace Behaviors, will be instructed by Dr. Massiel Pérez-Calhoon, manager of Community and Corporate Relations at Brandman University. The course will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Greater Irvine Chamber, 36 Executive Park, Ste. 100, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

To register for the Feb. 1 workshop and for more information, click here.

More than 300 students have participated in the program since it began in 2015. Career Edge is offered to students enrolled at any college or university located in or around Irvine. Career Edge was named the 2017Outstanding Program of the Year by the Western Association of Chamber Executives.

For more information, contact Pepper Russell.

Pictured from left to right: Career Edge student Carlos Garcia, Dr. Roopa Mathur, Career Edge student Cristihan Sales Carrera.

Category: Chamber News, Workforce Development, Economic Development