Breanna Allen, Pathways CoordinatorBy Breanna Allen, Pathways Coordinator

A two-day event to raise awareness about local career pathways for middle-school students from Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties will be held April 17 and 18 at the CENTER six one five in Elkhart. In planning this first event for Elkhart County, we’ve learned best practices from Kalamazoo, MI, Greenville, SC, Junior Achievement’s Job Spark in Indianapolis, and MiCareerQuest in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Nearly 40 businesses representing advanced manufacturing, construction and trades, healthcare, and information technology are working to provide hands-on experiences that help students understand what jobs look and feel like.

In addition, Elkhart Area Career Center, ETHOS, and higher education partners are signed up to exhibit. An estimated 4,300 students will participate in the event, including seventh-grade students from Elkhart County.

Curriculum has been designed by school counselors to prepare the students in the classroom prior to the event, and pre- and post-surveys will be taken to track the success of the program. Elkhart County has identified Career Quest as another way to introduce students to career opportunities as they are making decisions about their future careers. (Another opportunity is Manufacturing Days, held annually in our county in October for eighth-grade students.)

This video gives an overview of the MiCareerQuest event held in Grand Rapids, MI, last year