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Two groups of Rocinante students are testing the program

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FARMINGTON — The lobby of the 30th Street Education Center was filled with area businesses on Jan. 17, eager to interview Rocinante High School students for prospective internships.

The businesses are participating in a pilot program where Farmington high school students learn career skills to help them find and acquire high-wage employment in the community.

Two groups of Rocinante students are piloting this program for the Spring 2020 semester with the goal of expanding it to all high school students for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, according to Work Based Learning Community Liaison Jose Villareal.

He has been with the Farmington Municipal School District since Spring 2019, hired as an educator to focus on career-technical education.

Villareal's goal is to connect students to the workforce and create an environment where students spend time in the classroom learning professional skills, then identify a possible future career.

Seventeen Rocinante students went through multiple rounds of interviews on Jan. 17, as they spent the prior day in mock interviews.

They spent time in a classroom working on their resume, their interview skills as they prepare for an internship where they'll work four days a week for the remainder of the nine-week period.

Sherry Foutz, owner of Advertising Ideas, and manager Jonell Lucero were from one of the businesses that participated in the event.

A variety of businesses were on-hand for the event, including some from the finance and health care industry.

Foutz and Lucero were interviewing students for one internship at the Farmington business.

Lucero said some of the previous employees they've hired had references from Farmington teachers.

"They are an asset to our business," Foutz said of the students. "We can help them and they can help us. It's a win-win situation."

During the interviews, they provided students with tips to help them with future interviews.

Foutz and Lucero hope to hire the student for a position following the internship.

Emmeri Tafoya, a senior at Rocinante, interviewed with a couple of businesses and is eager for the program to give her a head start in finding a career.

She appreciated learning about how body language and verbal/non-verbal clues can impact an interview along with learning how to dress for an interview and how to best present themselves.

"We got to learn more about ourselves and what we can bring to companies and what hard/soft skills we have," Tafoya said.

Tafoya has had a couple of jobs since getting her first one at 15, and feels more comfortable about graduating from high school in May after taking part in the program.

"I’m young and I don't think I should select something that will sell myself short," Tafoya said. "I want to do something I'm actually going to like and actually benefit my career."

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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More: San Juan College and Farmington Municipal Schools unveil new 30th Street Education Center

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