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SOS Outreach Expands Career Development Program to Advance Equity in the Outdoor Industry

PARK CITY, UT – For the second year in a row, the youth development nonprofit SOS Outreach, is launching its Career Development Program. Through this summer program, youth participants ages 16 and up are placed in six-week long paid apprenticeships across the outdoor industry. “We are really excited to bring this program back for our older participants,” says Program Manager Palmer Daniels, “this is an incredible opportunity for them to explore how they can turn their passion for the outdoors into a viable career.” 

Since 2017, SOS Outreach has focused on youth development for local kids & teens through a combination of mentorship and winter sports like skiing and riding. “Most of our youth don’t have the same opportunities as other kids in Park City,” says Daniels, “it’s our goal to ensure that all young people have access to opportunity; and through our programs, we’re not only getting young people out on the mountain, we’re helping them gain skills for life.” 

SOS’ Career Development Program starts off with a two-week skills intensive at the SOS office. Here, participants learn fundamental professional skills like resume building, how to interview, and even how to behave and dress in a workplace environment.”These young people are just beginning to gain job experience. We want to ensure that they are set up for success.” says Daniels. Upon completion of the intensive, participants are placed at a company where they will learn the ins and outs of the outdoor industry, build professional relationships, and gain paid hands-on experience. This year, Vail Resorts, Legacy Sports, and Armada Skis are hosting SOS career participants. 

In some cases, these placements have led to additional long-term opportunities for participants. Avery Rognan, who participated in the program last year and worked for the US Ski and Snowboard Team, received an offer at the end of her six weeks to stay on as a part-time staff member. She’s been working there since and was proud to share her first hand experiences with this year’s cohort of participants. 

For others, the experience has helped them find their career path. E Romero who apprenticed as a Resort Specialist at Park City Mountain Resort last summer attributes their experience to deciding on what to study in college. “Working at the Park City Mountain Resort was a great professional experience for me,” says Romero, “I got to try a lot of different things, but what really interested me was hearing everyone talk about Vail Resorts’ environmental goals.” With this newfound interest, E began researching careers and education paths to do environmental work. This fall, E will be attending Salt Lake Community College to study Environmental Engineering.

“We are so grateful to our partners who are hosting career placements this summer and to our partners who are supporting this program,” says Daniels, “the impact that this experience has on our kids is tremendous and I’m looking forward to seeing how all our participants grow personally and professionally over the next six weeks.”