Have you ever felt the energy of almost 5,000 8th graders on a mission? At this year’s Career Connections exhibition, held Oct. 16 at the Infinite Energy Center, more than 400 adults representing 196 businesses were first-hand witnesses. They responded to the students’ many questions and shared insights about their industries.
“The students were well-informed, and they asked great questions,” said representatives from ITT. “They have been prepared very well for this event. We’re very impressed.”
The student participants will attend one of Gwinnett’s College and Career Academy high schools next fall. The event gave them an opportunity to learn more about potential careers as they start making decisions about their Academy focus for high school.
“I talked to the Engineering Academy president and he discussed with me his title and job description,” says Hunter, an 8th grader from Sweetwater MS. “Making this career connection has helped [me] make decisions about my future career goals and gave me options that I had not thought of before.”
Exhibitors from Gwinnett Fire Safety and Emergency Services observed, “We were surprised by some of their questions, and we’re glad that we came this year. It’s good to see that the kids are really interested. This was a well-organized event, and this is a great age for the kids to start making career decisions, final or not.”
In a flurry of conversations and demonstrations during the three-hour event, groups of students from 11 feeder middle schools were scheduled to visit the exhibit hall, maximizing opportunities so the students could interview representatives from at least three different companies.
“I’ve been surprised by the professionalism shown by the students,” said a contact from an architectural firm. “Most were ready to discuss their interests, and they were very polite.”
Representatives of Fridge Worthy, a new company on the Career Connections roster, were especially excited to speak with students. “This was a great opportunity for students to learn about different fields. The businesses here could tell them more about their industries and how to advance. It’s important to help students build a solid foundation as they pursue their future plans. We were students ourselves just six years ago, so we definitely understand the significance of this event.”
Career Connections by the numbers
Total number of participating students: 4,861
Number of middle schools represented: 11 (Berkmar MS, Grace Snell Ms, Jordan MS, Lanier MS, Lilburn MS, Moore MS, Radloff MS, Richards MS, Shiloh MS, Snellville MS, and Sweetwater MS)
Academy high schools where these middle schoolers will attend: 7 (Berkmar HS, Central Gwinnett HS, Discovery HS, Lanier HS, Meadowcreek HS, Shiloh HS, and South Gwinnett HS)
Number of participating businesses: 196
First-time participating businesses: 50%
Other perspectives from middle school students:
Hazel: I was able to see exactly how it was going to be when I had to file taxes as an adult. The experience gave me an idea of what I want to do when I grow up. I really want to do something to do with the CSI or Forensic Team. I was able to gather ideas of what I need to do to prepare myself for the career I chose.
Jessica: The field trip was beneficial to me so I could see my options for the future. And how many sacrifices I might have to make in order to reach my career goals.
George: I went to the investigator during the career connection field trip and he described to me what his job duties included. The speaker covered all types of investigations: theft, homicide, and various other types of criminal activity, which really opened my eyes to the options I had.
Luis: It helped me really think about the future decisions I have to make about my dream job, which is electrical engineering. The adult I spoke to gave me tips on how to achieve my end goal.
Melanie: I talked to the representative for the theater to pursue a job in acting. He said it would be beneficial to be an actor if you have a great personality and acting would help boost my confidence.
LaQuan: I talked to the Entrepreneur, Ms. Kim, who started her own business on the computer and explained to me all the steps and degrees I would need to do all of the business side of having my own business. She taught me that I would have to know accounting, environmental issues (if that applies for my business), and how to hire the right people in order to be successful.