Caption: More than 2,000 high school students converged on the Allan Hancock College campus for the 12th annual Career Exploration Day. Students visited with more representatives from more than 120 businesses, agencies and academic programs to learn how to prepare for the careers of their choice.

Caption: More than 2,000 high school students converged on the Allan Hancock College campus for the 12th annual Career Exploration Day. Students visited with more representatives from more than 120 businesses, agencies and academic programs to learn how to prepare for the careers of their choice.

More than 2,000 students from about 20 different area high schools and charter schools took part in Allan Hancock College’s 12th annual Career Exploration Day on Friday, Sept. 30. Representatives from more than 100 college programs and local businesses, including employers from manufacturing, agriculture, law enforcement, military, civil service and medical fields, were on hand to talk specifics about their industry and the education it requires for employment.

“The goal of the event is to expose high school and college students to career opportunities on the Central Coast and to make sure they know how to prepare for the careers of their choice,” said Nohemy Ornelas, associate superintendent/vice president of student services. “It also helps those still exploring career options to talk directly with employers.”

Hancock faculty and staff from academic and career technical education departments such as welding, public safety, nursing and culinary arts were also available to talk about corresponding courses and career options.

“I’m really glad that I came,” said Yvette Duran, a student from Nipomo High School. “I plan on going to Hancock after I graduate, so it was awesome to see the different programs available at the school and how you can use those programs to find a good job at all these different businesses here.”

A highlight of the event was tours of specific programs available at Hancock, including the culinary arts teaching kitchen, the Industrial Technology complex, PCPA theater, science labs and the college’s vineyard and winery. Guests were also able to take part in harvest festival activities organized by the college’s viticulture/enology program.

“I think my favorite was the photography exhibit,” Duran said. “It was interesting and fun and something I might like to pursue.”

Many exhibitors come to the event every year to keep a strong relationship with the college but also to show high school students the types of jobs that are available in the community.

“We came because we feel it’s important to show these students that they have options,” said Maria Forbes, human resources manager at Coast Hills Credit Union in Santa Maria. “They don’t have to move out of the Central Coast for a great education or a great career.”