About 450 area high school students will have a day of career and college exploration at the Latino Youth Career and College Fair today at Madison College’s Truax campus.

Madison College, in partnership with Edgewood College, is set to host its annual Latino Career and College Fair to show students that higher education is attainable. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend workshops that cover a broad range of career areas, meet Madison-area professionals from various career professions and create a curriculum for their designated career track.

“The purpose of the event is really to reach out to the youth in our district. It’s a chance for young Latino students to realize that college is an obtainable goal for them and that they can definitely pursue higher education, but then also to help them really realize what career paths might interest them,” Nicole Sandoval, one of the organizers of the event, tells Madison365. “It’s a chance to speak to a ton of different colleges all in the same day and visit with different universities.”

Madison College hosts three different Ethnic Youth Career Fairs throughout the year that focus on three different communities: African American, Latino and Asian.

“This will be the third Youth Career and College Fair in our series and our Latino one will be our biggest – we’re expecting about 450 students,” Sandoval says.

Part of the team that helps organize the annual Latino College and Career Fair at Madison College: (L-r) Ashley McCarthy, Dulce Danel, Nicole Sandoval and Torvic Caradine

Students will attend the fair from all high schools within the MATC district – students from 16 different counties. The event features a college fair with a number of Wisconsin private and public universities and colleges participating.

“My favorite part of this event is seeing students when they have that ‘a-ha’ moment,” Dulce Danel, who is helping to organize the event with Sandoval, tells Madison365. “I think sometimes they hear maybe not the best things throughout their high school experience or maybe don’t realize that they can have an awesome career that’s a one-year or two-year program. I love to see that realization during this event that there is something they’ve found that they can definitely look forward to doing.”

Keynote speakers for the event will be Joe and Miriam Maldonado, owners of Luna’s Groceries, a full-service grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood in Southwest Madison. They will kick off the event at 9 a.m.

“We are excited to have the Maldonados because they are doing really great things in the community with Luna’s and with their own individual work that they do,” Sandoval says. “That’s something that we really want to show the kids – powerful Latinas and Latinos who are doing great things in our community.”

After the keynote, the students will go into two separate sessions.

“One is the ‘Admissions Blueprint’ with Derek Johnson from Edgewood College giving that presentation,” Sandoval says. “The other is ‘You Graduated. Now What?’”

Students listen to a speaker at last year’s Latino Youth Career and College Fair.

It is the organizers’ hope that the Latino Youth Career and College Fair will show students that higher education is attainable by providing information that will help them identify jobs and programs in high demand over the next 10 years.

“Students will have a chance to visit with different universities and different departments and programs of Madison College,” Sandoval says.”It’s important for them to see all of the options that they have.”

“In the afternoon they will break off into different career sessions and this is where the community comes into play because we invite different community members to come do different sessions on apprenticeship and trade and business and education and health and STEM and the many other careers that there are,” Danel says. “Students will be able to talk to professionals from a variety of different career fields.”

For more information on the Latino Youth Career and College Fair, please email yccf@madisoncollege.edu. or click here.