Students in 9th grade classes from area high schools will learn all about existing and emerging careers in the local tree fruit industry that are directly tied to computer science and technology. The students on Friday will be involved in a program called “New Tech Careers Growing in the Valley” that will involve presentations from several of the area’s top agriculture employers at Perry Technical Institute in Yakima.

The half-day program at Perry Tech is being presented by both Educational Service District 105 and the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.  Upwards of 150 students from local high schools, along with school counselors, have been invited to learn about technology-related career pathways in our region’s fruit production industry.  Schools expected to attend include East Valley, Davis, Stanton Academy, Toppenish, Wapato, Highland, and Selah.

Caroline King, CEO of the Seattle-based Washington STEM organization, will provide the keynote remarks during the session’s welcome gathering from 9 to 9:30 a.m. at the Perry Tech Auditorium.

Afterwards, students will split into to six rooms in Perry Tech’s main floor and upper level from 9:35 to 11:50 a.m. for 25-minute presentations from local agriculture employers that will focus on the possibilities and the preparation needed for technology-related careers in the fruit industry.  Those presenters will include representatives from Zirkle Fruit, Matson Fruit, Tree Top, Allan Brothers Fruit, Broetje Orchards, and Washington Fruit & Produce Company.

A panel discussion and Q&A session will follow from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m., followed by time for each school’s group of students to talk about the day’s information with their school counselor.