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UCOP staff volunteers at 2016 Oakland Youth Careers Expo

Over two dozen volunteers from 10 UCOP departments* collaborated on the successful design and staffing of two well-received interactive booths at the 2016 Oakland Youth Careers Expo on Feb. 26. More than 1,200 high school students from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) attended the event at the Oakland Marriott, interacting with 80 local employers and exploring myriad career paths.

UCOP’s Information Technology Services (ITS) and UC Berkeley’s Student Affairs Information Technology (SAIT) departments co-hosted an “IT Solves Problems” booth. The UC employees represented the many aspects of IT, including web development, desktop support, technical writing, information security and application support. Enticed by a rolling robot which roamed the convention floor greeting them, students who visited the UC booth participated in quizzes, competed for prizes and saw a range of technology in action. To encourage their interest, a Show Me the Money chart illustrated the salary ranges for technical and non-technical jobs in IT.

IT staff enjoyed participating in the event as much as the students did. Robert Koster of the IT Service Desk observed that “the students were very curious and enthusiastic about technology. It was a joy interacting with them, answering their questions about what we accomplish in supporting the people at UCOP.” Desk Side Support Supervisor Paul Anderson was impressed that “some of the students had very clear career aspirations. It was interesting to listen to them and to share how we got into our careers.” Chief Technology Officer Paul Weiss summed up the day by saying, “It was very inspiring and I left with a sense of optimism from getting to interact with the generation who is going to take us forward.”

Against a backdrop of bold and colorful “UC Power of Public” campaign posters, a second, multi-departmental exhibit booth featured informational boards illustrating the rich diversity of jobs in OP, including communications; building services; energy and sustainability; institutional research and academic planning; innovation and entrepreneurship. Starting off with sharply honed three-minute pitches, UCOP employees manning the booth engaged the students in career discussions, answered questions about day-to-day work life, and described the varied paths that took them from school to their current jobs. These employees also enjoyed the interaction with the students. “The Oakland Career Fair was eye-opening for everyone. Students learned more about the UC system and the possibilities it offers and we learned more about how amazing and inspiring this next generation of young people is,” said Institutional Research and Planning (IRAP) analyst Brianna Moore-Trieu.

By 2025, California is expected to face a shortage of 1.5 million skilled college-educated workers. One way to address that gap as well as support the future economic stability of UCOP’s hometown Oakland is to create meaningful school-to-career experiences, especially for Latino and African-American students, who represent the largest ethnic demographic within OUSD. By participating in the career fair and helping Oakland students focus on in-demand occupations that offer higher wages, OP staff made a meaningful contribution both towards that goal and the intentions of President Napolitano’s UC Oakland Partnership initiative. As Chris Parmelee, analyst for UC Online Education, observed, “This event was wonderfully symbiotic for UCOP and Oakland. We spoke directly to Oakland youth in an effort to inspire them to follow their dreams as well as to highlight that there are UC careers available in their own community.”

Volunteering at the career fair made ITS Web Support Supervisor Judy Thai feel optimistic and eager to help out again: “The kids were bright, prepared and so full of promise. I was energized by the event and look forward to participating next year!”


* The following departments participated in the exhibitor booths:

  • Academic Senate
  • Agriculture & Natural Resources (California Institute for Water Resources)
  • Building Services
  • Communications
  • Energy & Sustainability
  • Information Technology and Services
  • Institutional Research & Academic Planning
  • Innovation Alliances and Services
  • Research & Graduate Studies
  • UC Online Education

The following departments donated prizes for the career fair:

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Communications
  • External Affairs – Alumni Office
  • Nature Reserve System
  • Office of the Chief Investment Officer
  • Office of the Chief Operating Officer
  • President’s Executive Office
  • Risk Services & Management – Ergonomics
  • Student Affairs – Undergraduate Admissions


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