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Students explore green careers

Companies gather in Costa Mesa High's gym to discuss jobs in an industry that teachers say is expanding.

March 13, 2012|By Britney Barnes
  • Joe Rueda of "Vital Link" Career Explorations, during Green Career Fair Day at Costa Mesa High School, shows students how a bicycle generates power into electricity.
Joe Rueda of "Vital Link" Career Explorations,… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Costa Mesa High School's gym buzzed with all things green Friday.

Clean Green Technology Inc., Viridistor LLC, Orange County Coastkeeper, Orange Coast College's Recycling Center and other organizations set up booths around the gym to educate students about careers in environmental sustainability.

"The green career job market is becoming more and more important," as the Earth's natural resources are depleted, said teacher Cristen Rasmussen. "It's important for our students to be able to address those issues when they get out in the real world."

About 800 students filtered through the first Green Career Fair hosted by the Mesa's Environmental and Marine Academy, a career academy for students interested in sustainability, green living and the ocean. The academy prepares them for entering green college programs, said Rasmussen, who also serves as a co-coordinator of the academy.

Rasmussen and her co-coordinator, teacher Cheri Daniels, for years discussed hosting the Green Career Fair.

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But it wasn't an option until they could partner with the community, Daniels said.

The two have seen more students interested in living sustainably and an uptick in interest from the business world.

"Green awareness is infiltrating every sector of business you can think about," Daniels said.

Academy students Ebony Hammond, 17, and Maritza Ribeva, 17, are considering integrating sustainability into their careers.

The career fair was a chance for the two seniors to learn more about their options and check out interesting exhibits, like how biking can generate electricity. They also saw why their peers were interested.

"Our classmates are interested just to [learn] how to get involved and different ways to save energy," Maritza said.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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