FutuReady Bridges School-Work Gap for NV Students

By Alexandria Hughes

As a high school senior at East Career and Technical Academy, one of Las Vegas’ leading magnet schools, Angely Ventura began looking into local internship opportunities in 2017. After some lengthy research, she set her eyes on the Astound Group, an award-winning design and fabric company that specializes in the delivery of state-of-the-art exhibits, events and environments. 

To Angely, the features and possibilities of working with Astound seemed infinite. But only a few years prior, Astound didn’t even have a location in Las Vegas. The LVGEA assisted Astound in opening its doors, which in turn, helped open doors for the Southern Nevada community.

With the support of her academic advisor, Angely moved promptly to enlist the help of LVGEA’s FutuReady program to assist in linking her with Astound. FutuReady debuted in 2015 with the objective of bringing together regional business leaders with local Magnet Schools and Career and Technical Academies to show how students are preparing for the Southern Nevada workforce. FutuReady links eager high school students with job shadowing opportunities, internships, and mentorships. Perry Ursem, LVGEA’s Vice President of Retention and Expansion and coordinator of FutuReady, immediately organized for Angely to meet with Kevin Morgan, the COO of Astound.

Angely was in the process of building a 20-foot 3D sword out of steel plate for her high school when she was scheduled to meet with Kevin. She had taught herself how to use a program called Sketch Up to design the 3D sword. During their initial meeting at East Career and Technical Academy, Angely showed Kevin the elaborate components and elements she implemented for her sword. Impressed by her dedication, effort, and perseverance, Kevin offered her a job-shadowing experience with Astound, where she would discover exactly what they do and how they work as a team to create magnificent designs from concepts and ideas.

In 2019, Angely returned to Astound as a summer intern. For four months, she worked closely with various departments to learn the day-to-day tasks and activities that each department is responsible for and how they work hand-in-hand with each other. 

At the end of the internship, she was hired on part-time as a Junior Administrative Intern. In her new role, she learned about project management, discovering how to create design briefs, and realizing costs associated with design elements, all while being able to apply her love for construction, design, and creativity.

“We’re grateful that we could assist Angely with landing this internship,” said Perry. “Her talent clearly made her stand out, and it’s the best part of our work when we connect impressive companies like Astound with our local workforce. This is what economic development is all about – identifying solutions and connecting opportunities. Our vision is hyper-focused on building this momentum into the future.”

Currently, Angely is a sophomore at UNLV, where she is majoring in architecture and design. She noted that she could see herself growing with Astound in their design department. She marveled at how she particularly enjoyed the elements of retail design.

LVGEA and CCSD will continue to develop and strengthen the FutuReady program in order to continue bringing together industry leaders, community resources, and local students, just like Angely who are seeking work experiences to challenge and prepare them for professional careers in Southern Nevada. 

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