Brewster resident Tricia Teixeira Santoianni has returned to school with an eye toward Cape Cod’s blue economy.
Santoianni already holds undergraduate and advanced degrees and had a career in sales and marketing.
Now, she’s back at school, earning an associate degree at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable. Her focus is environmental science and the blue economy. She’s working on a certificate in coastal zone management and she’s also fulfilling a 50-hour internship in January by helping to organize the blue economy WaterWORKS career day on Tuesday at the school.
The fourth annual career fair is about jobs, careers and making the region a permanent place to live — based on the growing blue economy.
The fair brings together more than 400 juniors and seniors chosen from high schools in Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket and southern Plymouth counties, to participate in a half-day of demonstrations, exhibits, face-to-face conversations and hands-on activities.
Job opportunities for a diverse Cape Cod workforce
Sponsoring organizations for the career fair — Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod Regional STEM Network and the college — have lined up more than 45 businesses, research institutions, nonprofits and governmental agencies as participants and exhibitors.
The idea is to help students “gain exposure to the vast industries that make up our blue economy,” Paul Niedzwiecki, CEO of the Chamber, said.
WaterWORKS organizers stress that Cape Cod offers a variety of training and employment opportunities, available to a diverse population of young people, whether they’re college-, certificate- or workforce-bound.
Students are invited to the fair by guidance counselors, science teachers or other advisors who think that each has “already shown a sense of purpose” in pursuing a career in the blue economy, according to Katy Acheson, a career fair organizer and economic development director at the Chamber.
The program, she said, is organized to show attendees “the scope of work they can do” if they remain on Cape Cod, or return to pursue careers on the Cape.
The event is not open to the general public, Acheson said.
Vineyard Offshore to address opening assembly
At the WaterWORKS opening assembly, students will hear from college and chamber representatives, and see a video presentation, “Women in Wind,” produced by Vineyard Offshore.
Vineyard Offshore, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’ affiliate development company working on U.S. projects with Avangrid, owns Vineyard Wind 1, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind energy project. On Jan. 2, one turbine Vineyard Wind turbine, located in a lease area south of Martha’s Vineyard, successfully delivered about five megawatts of power to the grid through cables under Covell Beach in Centerville.
The company announced Jan. 3 it had created 937 union jobs through two years of construction.
Students will form smaller groups to visit exhibits in the college gym and the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center, to hear exhibitors representing fields such as shark science, fishing, wooden boat building, ocean science research, oyster farming, aviation technology, climate adaptation, computer modeling and marine life protection, Acheson said.
She called the fair a “career exploration” for students, furthering the event’s core goal of “workforce development, nurturing career possibilities” and promoting a broad array of jobs available to students embarking on their careers.
‘The Cape is thriving’
As part of her internship, Santoianni has developed some panel-led discussion programs for the career event, as well as several “career corners” where students can informally interview representatives of the companies that are exhibiting.
She will be one of the first students at the college to earn a blue economy degree, according to Rachel Dragos, coordinator of the Regional STEM Network at the college.
The blue economy degree was an inspiration, and an opportunity — to make “a tangible and direct contribution” in helping preserve and sustain the natural beauty of the environment and community on Cape Cod, Santoianni said.
As a returning student, Santoianni hopes that her prior business experience will help her as she pursues a new career on the Cape.
“The Cape is thriving,” she said.
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