FUSD opens the door to opportunity for students with consecutive college and career fairs | News

Lines of students from across the Inland Empire anxiously awaited the opening of the Ontario Convention Center doors for the annual Inland Empire Regional College and Career Fair, as Fontana Unified School District kicked off a pair of consecutive college, career and recruitment fairs on Sept. 20.

Thousands of students across all age groups, many accompanied by family members or school staffers, weighed numerous possibilities for their futures as they researched different college and career opportunities at the Regional College and Career Fair followed by the United College Action Network, Inc. (U-CAN) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Recruitment Fair at the Colony High School Gymnasium on Sept. 21.

Fontana A.B. Miller High School senior Amira Shalabi walked into the Regional College and Career Fair looking to explore different college and career opportunities. She came in planning to enroll at a community college, but said her thinking changed when representatives from UC Berkeley encouraged her to apply.

“I came here because I wanted to look into different opportunities, I didn’t want to just lock myself into one thing and this helped open my mindset,” said Shalabi, who is interested in pursuing a career in psychology, real estate or ultrasound technology. “I was thinking of going to a community college but Berkeley told me they really want me there; I wouldn’t have thought that was an option for me.”

The Regional College and Career Fair, which first launched in 2019, was co-hosted by FUSD and Chaffey Joint Union High School District this year. FUSD has partnered with the U-CAN HBCU Recruitment Fair since 2013. More than 30 HBCUs participated in the event, offering students the opportunity to receive on-the-spot admissions and scholarship offers.

Students snagged complimentary tote bags as they entered that soon were filled with college pamphlets and free giveaways from more than 100 different booths over both days, staffed by college recruiters, local employers and the vast career technical education pathways within FUSD. More than 80 colleges and universities from across the state and country were represented over both events, including Arizona State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino, Morehouse College, Oregon State, Spelman College and UCLA.

Representatives from local employers, law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, trade colleges and a local carpenters’ union were also on hand at the Regional College and Career Fair as students explored different career opportunities available right after high school.

“It is great to see how these events have grown over the years,” FUSD Director of College and Career Readiness Dr. Vernell Deslonde said. “We want to make sure we are hitting all the different areas of interest for our students with these events, whether those are community colleges, four-year universities, vocational or trade schools or different career opportunities.”

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