Tucson high school students who are part of the DCA’s Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative look closely at gemstones as AGTA CEO Doug Hucker explains double refraction.
Tucson, Ariz.--A couple industry organizations used the recent gem shows in Tucson to build interest in the business for the next generation.

The Diamond Council of America’s Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative (JCRI) recently added its first Arizona school district participant, the Tucson area’s Marana Unified School District.

Last Thursday in Tucson, the DCA and the American Gem Trade Association partnered with the district’s two participating high schools, Mountain View and Marana, to give the students in the program a special experience.

DCA President and CEO Terry Chandler and AGTA CEO Doug Hucker led a tour of the AGTA GemFair show, located at the Tucson Convention Center, for 35 students.

The group was given tours of the show floor, the Spectrum Awards areas and the CAD Pavilion, among other stops.

Other JCRI and AGTA team members were on hand at the tour, as was Cathie Raymond, director for Marana Unified, who also attended the AGTA Spectrum Awards Saturday as the DCA’s guest.

“When we were directed by new Arizona legislation to offer industry recognized certifications for our Career and Technical Education programs, we decided that the DCA certification would be a great fit for our Professional Sales and Marketing programs,” she told National Jeweler. “Attending the gem show was an incredible experience for our students. It opened their minds to all the career opportunities in the industry.”

Matthew Edgington, a teacher at Mountain View High School, said that his students “found the experience fascinating, particularly the business-to-business portion of the show.”

“Being able to sit with industry professionals and actually talk and interact hands on with real materials in the professional setting is something many of them have said has already had an impact. Even simply opening their eyes to a new industry, that is actually much larger than what they originally thought, made the entire thing worth it.”

The two high schools currently have 47 students participating in JCRI’s Jewelry Sales Certifications program.

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