Seizing opportunity

Students find jobs, internships at fair


Krys Shahin

Students Savannah Untalan (left) and Maria Prado blow up balloons to make animals at the table where Esmeralda Villegas represented Sparklez and Spikes Entertainment at the LMC Opportunity Fair

Hillary Hetrick, Campus Editor / @Hillarymhetrick

Los Medanos College’s Transfer and Career Services hosted the Opportunity Fair Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Indoor Quad. 50 employers offered internships and job openings to students. Over 400 students made their way to the Opportunity fair along with ambassadors, LMC faculty and student volunteers. 

Cooperative Work Experience Education, represented by Program Coordinator Cynthia Perez-Nicholas, spoke to students as they stopped to check out what Los Medanos had to offer, relating to obtaining work experience credit. 

“I’m educating students on the Cooperative Work Experience program,” she said, “and how [students] can learn about how to get college units for their job.” 

CWEE has three options or classes for students wanting to get work experience units for their job. COOP-160 is one of those classes that gives college units for a job that isn’t related to their major. Another option is Occupational Work Experience, which has 15 classes that offer work experience credit for jobs that do relate to a particular major. Lastly, students can get units for an internship, whether it be paid or unpaid. There are 16 classes available for this option. 

“All work experience is good work experience,” Perez-Nicholas said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re working at McDonald’s, as a caretaker or as a babysitter. Whatever your job is …we can make it a meaningful work experience.” 

LMC student Ron Crowell expressed his interest in CWEE. He asked about the process it takes to get credit for a job. He asked, “Does my supervisor have to come to campus?”  

Perez-Nicholas answered, “No. He would come to your supervisor.” 

In CWEE, a letter grade is given based on reports given by job supervisors. These reports make up to 45% of a student’s grade.  

Kaiser Hospice, AUSD (Antioch Unified School District), Nordstrom, East Bay ABA, Sparkles and Spikes, Norcal Ambulance and Opportunity Junction were a few business and recruiters looking to hire for their open positions or provide job training services. Among these were some recruiters from a couple of our  military branches.  

Opportunity Junction is an agency that provides career coaching, job training and job placement at little to no cost. They also help build resumes and provide interview training, as well as give computer classes. As for career training, they offer CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and Administrative Assistant. There are also classes in ESL and computer skills.These skills can help families keep their jobs so they can be self-sufficient. 

Opportunity Junction representative Maro’Jene Alexander explained about the program. “We are a non-profit organization. We help with a few different things, but our main thing is finding a job and training placement in administrative fields.”  

“We have a roadmap for our youth, ages 18-24,” Alexander said. “We have many programs, career counselors to help you find jobs. The career counselors help with resume writing, interviewing, interview clothes and things like that.”  

Opportunity Junction has been helping low-income residents of Contra Costa County for over 20 years.