On April 1, 2017, Asian Americans for Equality hosted its sixth annual Career Conference at Flushing High School.

More than 160 students took part in the day’s events, along with 32 professionals from a wide variety of fields, including business, law, health services and fashion. During panel discussions and a networking lunch, students learned about educational requirements for specific vocations and the challenges and rewards of different jobs.

The keynote speech was delivered by Sandra Ung, a special assistant to Congresswoman Grace Meng, the first Asian woman to represent New York State in the U.S. Congress. Ung, an alumnus of Flushing High School, told students about her experiences as an immigrant and about her path to college and to a successful career in the federal government. It was an inspirational story that clearly resonated with the students.

For the first time this year, there was a college student panel, featuring recent Flushing High School students. The panelists are only a few years removed from the high school experience and are, in many cases, already in (or about to enter) the workplace. They talked about their challenges adapting to college, as well as the transition to the working world.

AAFE’s Career Conference is just one of many programs dedicated to providing young people with the tools they require to succeed after high school. Our Project Collegebound program offers one-on-one college guidance and financial literacy counseling, youth and parent leadership development, and other activities that promote college- and career-readiness. Every year, AAFE coordinates college tours for local high school students, offering them exposure to university campuses.

Another important initiative in local high schools is AAFE’s peer-to peer counseling program. In partnership with an organization known as “College Access: Research and Action,” young people are trained to help other students prepare their college applications and to apply for financial aid.

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