At a Glance
Eastern Westmoreland CTC hosts an annual day-long event for prospective eighth grade students to build awareness of non-traditional careers and to increase the enrollment of non-traditional students at the school.
All eighth grade students from one of the local middle schools attended the CTC for an entire day in the spring and were exposed to various non-traditional careers. In preparation for this day, which was part of the school’s career exploration unit, the middle school guidance counselor and an eighth grade teacher collaborated to develop and share a presentation for the students regarding careers, with a focus on non-traditional careers. They conducted a pre-test of students prior to event, and a post-test and survey after the event.
When the students arrived at the school, the director welcomed them and showed a video related to non-traditional careers. Following the presentation, students went outside where various emergency vehicles were parked (wildlife conservation, heavy equipment, police car/dog, ambulance, and a fire truck). Groups of students circulated and talked with each vehicle operator.
Students then returned to the multipurpose room, where local business and community members representing non-traditional roles talked about their jobs, their education, and responded to questions from the students. The male speakers included a cosmetologist, a nurse, and two elementary teachers. Female speakers included a maintenance supervisor, an engineer, an assistant district attorney, a chef, a funeral director, a state police trooper, a maintenance supervisor, a auto-body shop owner, and a game commissioner.
Following lunch, students visited three programs. They were assigned to two programs that represented a non-traditional career and were permitted to visit a third program of their choice. Students completed a hands-on activity in each of the three programs that they visited.
The final activity of the day was a CTE student panel. Current Eastern Westmoreland students representing non-traditional programs spoke about their decision to pursue a non-traditional career, hurdles they have overcome, and the success that they have found.
Origin / Implementation
This event was initiated by Eastern Westmoreland’s Middle School Career Exploration Working Group as a function of the school’s College-Career Pathways System developed through the Pennsylvania Pathways Innovation Network (PA-PIN). The group, comprised of middle school, high school, and CTC counselors, teachers, and administrators along with business volunteers, identified career exploration in non-traditional careers as a high priority need. The resulting action plan included the coordination of a Non-Traditional Student Recruiting Day at the CTC.
Members of Middle School Career Exploration Working Group coordinate the event. They work together to develop an agenda, and each individual member assumes a role. They identify potential business/community guests that can come to represent non-traditional careers and coordinate who will make the contact. The middle school staff coordinates the field trip logistics, and the CTC staff coordinates the hands-on activities. The CTC instructors plan the hands-on activities that will occur in their program areas. They also assist the Middle School Career Exploration Working Group in identifying potential guests.
The first event was held in May, 2014. The event was coordinated and held again in May, 2015. The organizers chose to hold the event in the spring for the best chance at good weather, which allows them to hold some of the event outside. This also plants a seed in the students’ minds as they move into ninth grade. All ninth grade students from each of Eastern Westmoreland’s three sending districts complete a full day tour. School leaders anticipate that more ninth grade students will choose to visit programs that represent non-traditional careers when they tour.
Results / Impact
Administrators expect to see the impact of these activities in the fall 2015 enrollment. This data will be the baseline and they will be watching to see if the non-traditional numbers in their programs grow.
Administrators shared the success of this event with their other two sending schools and hope to have them participate in the future.
Eastern Westmoreland CTC
Marie Bowers, Director