This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2019.
Bouncing from welding and auto body classes to AP and honors courses is all in a typical week for Maxim Yalch. The Thousand Oaks High School senior will be attending Cal Lutheran in the fall, but being on the college track didn't stop him from taking advantage of career-related classes in subjects he's passionate about. "I did an internship where I learned how to weld and I really liked it, so I decided to continue with it," he says.
Maxim signed up for the welding class at the Ventura County Office of Education's Career Education Center in Camarillo. Formerly known as ROP, the Career Education Center offers a huge variety of free vocational courses for Ventura County middle and high school students in fields ranging from technology to healthcare to auto repair. "I was really surprised how many different classes they have," he says. "Students can definitely turn their passion into a career and make a business out of it."
And that's exactly what Maxim plans to do. "The main reason I decided to go to college is to study business because I think it will help me in starting my own business," he says. Maxim was accepted to the EThOS Entrepreneurship Academy at Thousand Oaks High School where he was part of a group that created a virtual business that included an actual prototype of a real product. His team developed the Fizzle Flask, an insulated water bottle with a carbon dioxide capsule that carbonates and flavors your water. "Our company is run pretty seriously," he says. "We have a CEO, CFO and marketing and sales directors. Pretty much anything a normal business would have."
This budding entrepreneur says more students should explore career-related education, whether or not college is in their future. "Kids who are going to college might think that it's just trade school and they don't really need it. But, go ahead and try a class out to see if you like it. It's all about figuring out what you want to do."
Maxim has time to decide exactly what type of business he's going to start, but one thing he already knows for sure is that he wants to be in charge. "The way I see it is you're either the guy scraping up the gum off the floor or you're the guy telling someone to do it," he says. "I want to be the one running things."
This summer, the VCOE Career Education Center is offering a variety of free career-related camps, which begin on July 1. Online registration is available here. The Career Education Center has also released its 2019-20 course catalog, which is available here.
More Stories about the Ventura County Class of 2019