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COLUMN: Education and Job Preparedness Brighten Our Young People’s Future

September 14, 2015
Blog Post
By Rep. Dan Newhouse

As summer comes to a close and the school year starts up again, young men and women who are nearing graduation or have already graduated from high school are faced with key questions regarding their future. Many students are deciding whether to pursue higher education or begin a career right away. Young people (and their parents) are asking: what path will they take? Few choices in life will have a greater impact than this decision at that early age. Whether young people choose to continue their education, to find a job, or work to improve their skills to meet their professional goals, it is important to offer educational and vocational resources to make their options clearer.

In the last few months as your congressman, I have had the privilege to meet highly-motivated, bright young people from all across Central Washington. I was impressed with the talent displayed in this year’s Congressional Art Competition from high school students, and I was amazed at Wapato High School students who traveled all the way to Houston, Texas to test their project for NASA that would keep fruit fresh longer while in space.

Whether they dream of becoming journalists, scientists, nurses, or to start their own businesses, our young people have inspired me and given me reason to be optimistic about our future leaders.

With the goal of helping young people and their families prepare for those important life decisions, I want to invite the public to a Higher Education and Job Training Expo I am hosting on Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The expo is free and open to students of all ages and their families in Central Washington. This free expo will be held at the Columbia Center Red Lion, 1101 North Columbia Center Boulevard in Kennewick.

The goal of this event is to bring dozens of colleges, military institutions, and job training programs under one roof where they can offer information and helpful resources for students and families in Central Washington to prepare to attend college or begin a career. Navigating the student aid process and applying to colleges can be tricky, so experts will be on hand to give tips during a breakout session at 11:30 a.m. Our region offers a multitude of educational and career options, and my hope is that students who attend this event will be inspired to aim high to achieve their personal goals.

Teddy Roosevelt made a great point when he wrote: “It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready.” That is sage advice not just for young men and women, but for parents. Parents, after all, are the ones who do the most work (and the most worrying) to prepare their children for adulthood, striving to raise responsible citizens who contribute to their community. I hope you can join me on Saturday to find some tools that will help.