Promising Practice: Exploring Careers Using Community Members header image

GEAR UP schools know that students who understand the relevance of a college degree for the jobs they are interested in are more likely to go to college. Therefore, numerous schools have implemented programs and activities that encourage students to explore careers, including guest speakers, career & college fairs, and job shadow experiences. These activities raise awareness about the importance of college, connect students with many different professions and give community members a chance to share their expertise with students.

Pizza with a Professional (Guest Speaker Series):
At Coquille Valley School, students can sign up to participate in lunch-time conversations with local community members from a variety of career fields. The program has been extremely popular (perhaps because of the free pizza!) but is also a low-effort, low-cost way for students to learn about different occupations.

Career & College Fairs:
North Marion High School has 8th-12th grade students rotate through the gym, set up with dozens of booths from local businesses and colleges. Students must fill out a "passport" to receive credit that connects jobs they're interested in with the colleges that have an applicable degree.

Job Shadowing:
8th and 10th graders at Glendale Junior/Senior High School are able to get an up-close look at professions that interested them during a full day job shadow experience in a field of their choice. Starting job shadowing in middle school allows students to experience multiple professions and recognize the importance of doing well in school before they begin their high school academic career.

Want to help connect students with career options using your community and local professionals?
Use our handy, dandy how-to guide for hosting three different types of Career & College Days with detailed information and checklists, as well as the Job Shadow Guide.