Washougal WA – Washougal High School held their second annual Pathways Conference for students on Thursday, November 7. This year’s focus was careers in Hospitality, Tourism, Human Services, Ag, Food and Natural Resources. The event was designed to prepare students for the world of work while bringing a more personal approach to the standard “Career Day.”
“We’re really trying to provide students with exposure to a professional conference setting while giving them an ‘up close and personal’ learning experience from local business folks about career pathways that are of interest to them,” said Margaret Rice, Washougal School District Career and Technical Education Director.
Conference planning began last year in order to identify and recruit a wide variety of professionals to speak.
“We had representatives from Disney College to Agri business to event planning,” said Lisa Leonard, WSD Career Specialist and Work Site Learning Coordinator. “We are so grateful to all of our speakers who took time out of their busy day and away from their businesses to share their expertise. Many were either Washougal residents, alumni or own a business in Washougal.”
The conference keynote speaker was WHS Alumni Matthieu Grant, who spoke about opportunities and skills needed to work for Disney. Other break session speakers included Drew Bergerson, Quest Events; Alex Yost, Our Bar; Mychal Dynes, Little Conejo; Michelle Weeks, Good Rain Farm; Robert Hensley, iFill Cup; Nathan Day, You Move Me; Beth Nelson, United Flight Attendant; Tera Yano, Sea Mar; Jayodin J. Mosher NIC-M, Interpreter for Sorenson; and LaDonna Davis, Cosmetology, Hairy Kari’s.
After a morning of speakers, students loaded buses to visit either Ilani Casino in Ridgefield or Skamania Lodge in Stevenson.
“Both businesses went out of their way to show students a wide variety of career
opportunities,” Leonard said.
The Ilani Casino Human Resources representatives provided Pathways Conference students with a complete overview of career opportunities as well as a tour of their guest services.
“They were very encouraging to the students,” said Leonard. “You could tell they are very passionate about what they do.”
Students also heard about the company’s tuition reimbursement for full-time employees and how they promote from within.
“Students were able to hear about every aspect of guest services at Skamania Lodge,” said Leonard. “The team there is great! Our Culinary teacher would hope to build an apprenticeship program with Skamania for students interested in hospitality careers.”
“Our goal is to have a Pathway Conference each year covering all 16 Career Clusters over a 4-year period that way our students the opportunity to participate in a different conference each year of their high school
career,” said Rice.