Career exploration events for the 2020-2021 school year had to pivot like many other events this year, but we were still able to provide opportunities for students to explore future careers through a transformed Career Quest 2021. All 7th grade students and some 8th grade students in Elkhart County had the chance to participate this year.
In preparation for the shift to a hybrid event — both virtual and in-person — counselors and businesses met to brainstorm options for students. There was a shared desire among the partners to find ways to make it engaging and fun for students, while still meeting the objective of exposing students to various career pathways. Both the school leaders and business leaders were willing to go above and beyond to prepare the best possible experience for students.
With various engagement levels to choose from and the entire month of May to implement Career Quest, schools had flexibility to design the best possible option for their students. Educators led career readiness lessons leading up to the event that allowed students to explore who they are and begin to connect it to possible future careers. In the post survey, 71% of students agreed with the statement, “I discovered ways my personal strengths could connect to job opportunities in my future.”
How it worked
The main event included four virtual escape rooms in the sectors of Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Each escape room featured a video, two puzzles, and a digital game that introduced students to the different sectors and specific information about careers in each pathway. In a written response, one student shared that, “The most important thing I learned was that there are so many different jobs in my hometown that I could do.”
In addition to the escape rooms, most of our Elkhart County schools also chose to invite one of our business partners to provide a hands-on activity for students. In those cases, students split into groups and rotated between participating in the escape rooms and the hands-on activities.
The hope is that for Career Quest 2022, we will be able to again provide an in-person, hands-on event. The lesson plans and escape rooms will continue to be included to enhance the experience and deepen students’ knowledge of possible careers.
Thank you to our partners
Thank you to our business partners for Career Quest live demonstrations: Ancon Construction, Goodwill Industries, Ivy Tech Community College, Lippert Components Inc., Rieth-Riley Construction, and Thor Industries.