Earlier this month, 100 of our Jenison eighth graders were randomly selected to attend the MI Career Quest event held at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Organized and hosted by West Michigan Works! and the Construction Workforce Development Alliance it was developed in response to employers’ need for future talent. Students were the targeted audience before opening the doors to perspective employees for more of a job fair atmosphere.
With the goal of experiencing many careers in one day and having the opportunity to ask questions students loved the event. Junior High Principal, Brett Cataldo, accompanied the students and said, “Students asked many great questions of the professionals working at the event. Some questions were about the training/schooling, hours worked each day/week, if they like their job, and where the business was located. Students were very responsive and really did a nice job exploring the jobs and asking quality questions.”
With almost 100 employers on site it was an excellent chance for students to consider a wider worldview to the ubiquitous question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The event was organized into four areas: construction, manufacturing, instructional technology and medical. “Interest was really high in the medical area with our students.” Participants were able to take part in various activities with the businesses present including hands-on demonstrations, team competitions and engaging in one-on-one conversations with professionals, which incuded engineers, registered nurses, architects, electricians and HVAC technicians.
“Students are never too young to explore and gain exposure on the possible future careers. An event like this is very motivating to students and makes all the work they are doing at school relevant.”
Whether it was seeing the inner-workings of a robotic arm or racing with a fire hose, this is a fantastic way for our students to begin exploring their interests, passions, talents and interests.