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Media Arts Try-a-Trade event encourages students to pursue their creative passion

Students in a classroom working on a Photoshop tutorial

Students in a Seattle Central College classroom working on a Photoshop tutorial.

About forty students from Franklin and Rainier Beach High Schools had the opportunity to try their hands at different creative trades at the first-of-its-kind Media Arts Try-a-Trade event last week, hosted at Seattle Central College.

The Try-a-Trade event was the result of a partnership between Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Colleges, and four City of Seattle departments. Students in the Seattle Central College Visual Media program led the high schoolers through different activities, all aimed at giving them a crash course in what it would be like to work in various visual media industries.

“Find something you can be passionate about in a career,” Seattle Central President Sheila Edwards Lange told the students at the start of the day. “Work doesn’t have to always feel like work.”

The high schoolers, all of whom are enrolled in similar classes at their schools, broke into groups and rotated through five stations: fashion photography, photo editing, video, portrait photography, and product photography. (Some of the students put the lessons they learned about photography and lighting to good use right away—by taking selfies with their classmates.) While enjoying lunch provided by Sizzle Pie, the students then had the chance to ask questions of a panel of industry professionals and graduates of the Seattle Central program.

Students participating in a fashion photoshoot.

Students participating in a fashion photo shoot.

While the City and local schools often collaborate on workforce development efforts, this was their first time applying the “try a trade” workshop model to artistic industries. Students are often encouraged throughout their K-12 education to pursue four-year degrees after high school, but this overlooks the many thousands of high-paying trade jobs that do not require an education at a university. Listening to the panel of professionals from employers including HBO and Nordstrom Studios, students saw first-hand that people who pursue technical education can go on to have lucrative careers doing what they love.

Events like the Media Arts Try-a-Trade are part of the City’s larger effort to help prepare students for successful careers. Learn more about how you can host youth interns at your organization this summer here.

Interested in other ways to share your industry expertise with young people? Sign up to offer other career-connected learning opportunities here. You can also learn more about the City’s workforce development efforts by checking out our website or emailing us at