Community Career Fair
By RACHEL VARTY
The Ortho Career Fair is a great opportunity for professionals and community partners to promote their respective industry sectors and inspire students to become aware of various occupations and the topics they address. Examples of Careers and Topics Represented: Clinical Health Practitioners, Biotechnology, Business, Engineering, Public Health, Diabetes Prevention, Stroke Awareness, Social Work, Wellness, Mental Health Care, Quality Control, Life Science Research, Medical Technicians, Post-secondary Training Programs, and more…
Guest speakers present via Zoom to groups of students and parents. Each session is hosted by a teacher who oversees attendance forms and student participation. The last five minutes are used for Q&A and to administer a student survey. Guest speakers prepare 20-25 minutes of content per session (Career Day template presentation link). Guest speakers can sign up for as many sessions as they like. A brief survey is provided at the close of the event. Confirmed guest speakers are sent a calendar invite for the event that includes the zoom link for their respective sessions. Guest speakers are recruited using a flyer, email and Google registration form. Presenters can be recruited by school staff and community partners.
Students and staff are trained prior to the event. Students, parents and staff receive the schedule in advance of the event including descriptions of each speaker and their profession. Students will create an individualized schedule for the day that includes which sessions they would like to attend. Students are also provided with a list of potential questions that they can ask presenters. Staff members are trained as they serve as hosts in each of the zoom rooms by greeting the presenters, setting expectations for students and pacing each session. Staff members provide students with a link to a questionnaire that they will fill out at the end of each session. Translation must also be arranged for the sessions that include parents.
All parties involved in the Career Fair had positive responses about about the event. They were asked to respond to a survey feedback form about the most significant detail about the sessions where they attended or presented at. The following are some of the responses:
“Thank you for the opportunity of allowing me to speak to the students on your first virtual career day this past Monday. Being able to be on the other side of career day and sharing my experience and knowledge with the students has been on my career-related bucket list for a while, and I thank you all for helping me cross that off!” – Jonathan, Marriott
“Thank you so much for having us! I truly had a blast and would love to do it again sometime.” – Stephanie, Nickelodeon
“We had 2 great sessions and lot of enthusiasm and great questions. Respectively 120 and 150 students joined the sessions where I was involved.” – Marco, Amazon
“Presenter was awesome, gave students relevant info regarding the process to become a nurse, what nurses do at work, etc.” – Walton, counselor
“Students were able to be exposed to various careers, understand that there are different paths that they could take in a given major and were exposed to different programs embedded within various programs to support and guide them throughout their schooling.” -teacher
“The session for speech pathology and physical therapy had great turnout (100 participants). Kids had great questions and the panelists were friendly and engaging. I would recommend them for future outreach when we need community/industry professionals.” – Plazola, teacher
“I loved how she works with telemedicine and talked to us about the use of robots and machines to virtually connect doctors with patients.” -Abida, student
“I learned that you can do anything and sometimes you can fall, but you can pick yourself up. Just believe in yourself.” – Jackie, student
“How having a right mindset is really helpful in getting further in growth.” – Abigail, student
“I learned that connections are important.” -Arwin, student
“The most significant detail about this career is that they will build projects, technology-wise, that will improve human life.” -Floridalma, student
“There are different pathways you can take within the nursing field in education, it is important to really look at your options. And once you become an RN you can further specialize to go to a specific field.” -Taylor, student
Adopt & Adapt
This event requires a network of professional connections. This network can include alumni of the school, family members, friends, and well as associates of community partners. Recruitment took place through emails with a flyer, description of the event, and link to the registration for need to be sent out to potential participants. We shared this email with our network and staff to also share out and recruit. This event can be planned in two to three months. Once a date is selected for the event, dates should also be set to train staff and students. These trainings can be conducted in an assembly format if necessary to reach many students at once. Parents should also be sent a save the date flyer well in advance of the event. Translators will need to be reserved for the parent sessions. The most time consuming components are sending the calendar invites to each presenter as well as creating the zoom links and sharing them with staff members. Once enough people have been recruited, the schedule can be organized. Student/parent friendly descriptions of each presentation should be included in the schedule.