At a Glance
As part of its comprehensive recruitment plan, Parkway West Career & Technology Center hosts career exploration days for prospective students. (The school’s Recruitment Plan is provided at the end of this document.)
When Dr. Darby Copeland became executive director of Parkway West approximately five years ago, he tasked his administration and faculty with rethinking the way in which students learn about and experience the CTC. He hired a new work-based/public relations coordinator to organize and publicize events, and the administrative team developed a comprehensive recruitment plan that focuses on how to better inform rising tenth graders about the careers and opportunities available to them at the CTC.
As part of the recruitment plan, the CTC began hosting two career exploration days for prospective students from its twelve sending districts. The administration schedules two extra days into the instructors’ employment contracts, allowing the CTC to close for these days so the instructors can focus solely on supporting student career exploration.
The goal of career exploration days is to provide eighth and ninth graders the opportunity to explore their career choices in a low stress, hands-on environment while allowing them time to experience the Parkway West CTC atmosphere and ask questions. They visit two programs of their choice while at the CTC, and instructors model lessons for the students, help them create projects, and inform them about the program. In addition, seniors in each program provide demonstrations, build hands-on projects and answer questions the prospective students may have for them. At the end of the program, the prospective students are asked to complete a survey about their experience. Approximately 250 prospective students attend one of four afternoon/morning sessions at a time.
There are logistical and budgetary challenges for CTCs to consider if they wish to implement career exploration days. The most pressing of these challenges is organizing the sending schools and accommodating their various schedules. At Parkway West, the guidance department and the work-based/public relations coordinator assume responsibility for addressing program logistics and the scheduling, and they work closely with the participating school districts. Program expenses are covered under the general fund and are sufficient to cover the costs of scheduling two extra days into instructors’ calendar.
Since implementing the comprehensive recruitment plan, which includes the career exploration days, there has been an increase of over 200 students participating in programs at Parkway West. This marks a 35 percent increase in student enrollment. Parkway West plans to continue hosting career exploration days and focusing on student recruitment.
Parkway West Career & Technology Center
Dr. Darby Copeland, Executive Director