Local foster youth takes part in Tech Con

IVROP encourages students to get involved in STEM

EL CENTRO, Calif. -

The Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program, IVROP held their fourth annual back to school event on Friday and this year's theme was "Tech Con".

The program services foster youth of all ages and Friday's goal was to provide a hand on experience in hopes of attracting students to science, technology, engineering and math.

 "Most of the time we do a variety of career exploration workshops. What we are doing this year, we decided to do one based on technology, that's why we are calling it tech con and we have a variety of community presenters," said Luis Torres, Program Manager with IVROP

This year approximately 80 youth will be taking part in Tech Con, getting a first-hand look at 3D printing, drones and more.

 "I'm using an app called Bloxels, its game design, so they start from the ground up. They design the character pixel by pixel, so it has kind of like retro graphics. Once they are done designing the character, the design the animation for when it walks, when it jumps," said Jesus Huerta, 6th Grade Teacher at Hedrick Elementary.

Students are then able to design their own levels essentially creating their own video game.

 "You tap it, find your character, tap on the character and now your character is in the game," explained Huerta.

 "The idea is to kind of get them interested in the area of stem, so when they go back to their schools we want them to sign up for stem programs, stem classes, or sign up for after school programs like mesa or other robotics after school programs," said Torres.

Students also had a hands-on building lesson in robotics and were able to plan out flying routes for a high-tech drone.

All participants will be going home with a backpack full of school essentials thanks to the community school supply drive.

 "The other thing about technology is that basically there is a huge demand for jobs out there, and it's being integrated in any career so it's something that is going to help them in different aspects. Even if somebody doesn't go into the area of stem, having those computer skills, those technology skills are going to help them in any profession," added Torres.

For more information about IVROP, their programs and how you can get involved with tech con, you can visit

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