Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center: Interactive Career Information Panel
At a Glance
Professionals from the medical and education fields participated in a career information session at Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center (GJCTC). During the event, students asked relevant questions to try to determine the career of each panelist. Students were not aware of the panelists professions ahead of the event.
GJCTC instructors in the Early Childhood Education, Health Assistant and Laboratory Technology programs wanted students to better understand the many career opportunities related to their CTE programs and the extent to which many careers cross over more than one program area. They also wanted students to learn about career opportunities that may not be well known, such as mortician, camp nurse and family educator.
To address these issues, the Secondary Education Career Coach/Cooperative Education Coordinator collaborated with Career Link representatives and local employers to bring together a panel of six professionals who currently work in the medical or education field to discuss the key aspects and requirements of their jobs with students. Panel members included the following professionals:
- Parent/Family Educator,
- Speech Pathologist,
- Registered Nurse,
- Day Care Supervisor,
- Occupational Therapist, and
- National Guard Member who volunteers as a paramedic and works in Communications
The panel organizers implemented a twist to engage students and to challenge their perceptions of career opportunities. Titling the 45-minute panel discussion Whats My Line?, the organizers did not inform students of the panelists professions ahead of the activity. Instead, students had to ask only yes and no questions in an effort to identify the career of each panelist. Panelists did not dress in uniform or wear anything that might provide a hint about their profession. The panelists and the students were briefed on the rules of the activity prior to the event.
During the event, the students were engaged and motivated to determine the profession of each panelist. They could ask their questions to one panelist or to more than one panelist. At the end of the 45-minute event, the students identified the speech pathologist.
Due to the success of the Whats My Line? event, GJCTC plans to continue hosting it each year. For CTCs who want to replicate the activity, the Secondary Education Career Coach/Cooperative Education Coordinator recommends teachers help students develop the yes and no questions for the panelists and understand the rules. CTCs should also allot extra time after the activity for students to meet the panelists and ask additional questions.
Anecdotally, the GJCTC faculty observed several valuable outcomes for students, teachers and professionals who participated in the Whats My Line? event. Students increased their awareness of a variety of careers that they may not have thought of prior to the activity. Students applied soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving during the event.
Teachers also benefitted from the event. They met professionals who could serve as potential speakers and OAC members. For the professionals on the panel, the event provided an opportunity to increase their knowledge of the CTE programs offered at GJCTC.
Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center
Vanessa Gardner, Secondary Education Career Coach/Cooperative Education Coordinator