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Media Arts Try-a-Trade event introduces Seattle youth to careers in creative industries

A student holds up a mic as his classmates record a voiceover in front of a TV

Last month, 120 Seattle students had the opportunity to try their hands at different creative trades at the second annual Media Arts Try-a-Trade event at Seattle Central College.

Students in Seattle Central College’s Visual Media, Graphic Design, and Apparel Design programs led local 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. This event was the result of a partnership between Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Colleges, and the City of Seattle, and served students from Franklin High School, Seattle World School, Ingraham High School, Center School, Nathan Hale, and Interagency Academy.

Seattle Central College President Sheila Edwards Lange welcomed the students at the start of the day, encouraging them to channel their creative passions into their future careers. Courses in these Seattle Central programs are taught by industry professionals who teach students the real-world skills they need to be successful in the workforce. Thanks to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s new Seattle Promise program, any Seattle public school graduate can receive two free years of college tuition to earn a credential, degree, or certificate at Seattle Colleges. “Just know that as you graduate, you will be able to use your Seattle Promise to come here, to Seattle Central, and study in these programs,” Dr. Edwards Lange told the students.

Students sit around a table working on a project

The high schoolers, all of whom are enrolled in visual media or similar classes at their schools, split into groups based on what program they most wanted to explore. The Visual Media group tried operating a dolly on a film set, practiced with a camera for a still photo shoot, and recorded voiceovers; the Apparel Design group drew their fashion ideas and saw work from current and former students; students in the Graphic Design group got an introduction to HTML and CSS, created a poster for a major sports team with Adobe Illustrator, and created a simple prototype for a mobile app with Adobe XD.

Students operating a camera for a film shoot

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. The Try-a-Trade event introduced students to industry professionals and demonstrated that getting a technical education can lead to 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, in-demand careers. You can learn more about the City’s workforce development efforts by checking out our website.