High school students pick careers early

February 6, 2009 7:02:52 PM PST
Hundreds of young people attended a big job fair in the East Bay, to learn about an area of the economy that will need more workers in the future. It's a real life lesson in optimism.

Students may be young, but they're far from naive about where the jobs of the future will be -- in health care.

"They say this is one of the best fields for that the economy doesn't affect. So hopefully it will be a steady job I can get, even with the economy tanking," says Chris Moon, a high school senior.

The Contra Costa County Health and Bioscience Fair attracted 450 high school students from the East Bay. It was a chance to learn about future opportunities in one of the few fields the California Employment Development Department lists as an area of job growth.

"A lot of people still think it's just doctors and nurses. There's stenography, ultrasound techs, there's radiography, physical therapy, respiratory therapy," says Marcos Blanco, a Sutter Health recruiter.

"Engineers can go into it, IT people, administrators," says Maribel Hermosillo, a representative of HOSA or Health Occupations Students of America.

At Diablo Valley College there is also heightened awareness of the tightening job market.

"Students are really concerned about their career choices," says Terry Armstrong, the DVC Career Center dean.

Armstrong says student requests for help have doubled in the past year.

"We're kind of focused on the dental area in the programs we offer. Dental hygiene, assisting, and dental lab technology," says Armstrong.

There's also a growing emphasis on re-training those who's career of choice has become obsolete.

It's a predicament 15-year-old Diana Rajabi hopes to avoid, by planning ahead for a career as a pediatrician.

"Do you think it's a good field to go into then?" asks ABC7's Laura Anthony.
"Yeah, I do because no matter what, we'll always need doctors," said Rajabi.

Some call it "Recession-proof."