When Lorenzo Duenas’ grandmother gives him advice, it usually sounds something like this:
Go to school. Finish school. Find a good career.
The 20-year-old Delta College welding student has every intention of accomplishing all three goals, and took a big step by attending last week’s first Entrée to Employment event at the College.
Lorenzo dined with industry professionals for the better part of an hour, answering their questions about his background and asking some questions of his own about what it’s like to be a welder.
The whole affair had the look and feel of a job interview. When it was over, he distributed his resume and went home knowing that he was that much closer to his dream.
“My whole life at this point is to make my grandmother proud,” Lorenzo said. “That’s what I’m doing.”
The inaugural event focused on career fields in industrial technology and advanced manufacturing. Faculty selected students who they thought might benefit from attending, while nearly a dozen companies and organizations sent representatives. They met at Danner Hall and dined on grilled salmon while making new connections and building new relationships.
Entrée to Employment is just the latest effort by Delta’s Career Technical Education Workforce Development Center to more closely connect students with prospective employers. Last spring, an on-campus job fair that featured same-day interviews with a major local employer led to the hiring of 30 students.
Entrée to Employment is yet another new tool which organizers hope to use again in the future. Organizers hope that students left the event with a better understanding of potential career fields.
“It’s a great learning opportunity for our students as they talk with employers about what opportunities are available at their companies,” said Michelle Castanon, Workforce Development Center program manager.
Employers, students and faculty mingle during the Entree to Employment event at Delta College
Lorenzo is in his third semester at Delta. He came to the dinner prepared, decked out in a blazer which, it’s safe to say, he would not wear to instructor Alex Taddei’s welding class.
At his table, he soon found himself to be the center of attention.
“I was answering questions left and right,” he said. “I didn’t want to mess up. But after the first five or 10 minutes I felt very confident, very comfortable.”
When he’d left home earlier that evening, all Lorenzo told his grandmother was that he was going to dinner.
Sometime soon, he hopes to have bigger news to share.
“One day I’ll tell her, ‘Grandma, guess what? I got a job,’” he said. “I hope she’ll be proud of me.”