The Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna County: Recruitment Strategy, Fifth Grade Site Tours

Posted on Categories Engagement, Recruitment and Retention

At a Glance

This project brings elementary school students (fifth grade) from the Career and Technology Center of Lackawanna County’s (CTCLC) sending districts to visit the Career and Technology Center for the purpose of career exploration. During the site visits students learn about the many career pathway opportunities available to them should they become students at the school.


The administrative team, with input from instructors and counselors, designed this program with the goal of exposing students at a younger age to the opportunities that are available to them in the county. They have developed a process to have an activity at each level to keep students interested as they move through each level of school. They were able to help the  sending districts by collecting evidence for their 339 plans at the elementary level. 

This project came about as part of the Business Education Partnership with the local Workforce Development Board. The sending districts as well as the  Workforce Development Board were interested in reaching students at a younger age to explore the sixteen career clusters and seventy-nine pathways available to them locally at CTCLC. Many districts found difficulty in finding funding to send students to the CTC to participate in any activities. This prompted partnerships with the Workforce Development Board and the local CareerLink.

The Grant Administrator and Career Resource Coordinator from the CTCLC spoke with the Director of the Workforce Development Board and CareerLink Administrator to share ideas on what could be done. They  decided that if buses were funded to get the elementary students to the school, it would eliminate the barrier they faced. The Grant Administrator and Career Resource Coordinator calculated how many elementary schools were in the county  and how many students needed transportation to the CTCLC. They also needed to plan their activities carefully to include additional costs to present a final budget. They submitted this activity, as well as some summer camps that also supported this theme, and the project was approved.

Once the grant was approved, the team began to plan their timeline and specific activities. Some of the tours occurred in the fall and others in the spring based on the district’s availability. Students came to CTCLC for a half day and were broken up into groups of 10 to 14 students. The groups rotated through student-run career/program stations that each included hands-on activities. Examples of stations included a welding simulator (Welding), spice guessing contest (Culinary), a lesson on how to swaddle a baby (Child Development), and a demonstration of how to use a green screen (Digital Communications). Students then came back together and participated in a Career Exploration Day Recap/Career Overview. Students had the opportunity to win a CTCLC Exploration Day t-shirt by answering career-related questions such as, “How many cars are there currently on earth? What do the pleats in a tall chef hat represent? What was built in 200 BC using eight million bricks?” All elementary students were actively engaged and enjoyed speaking with students currently enrolled in the programs. The best way to describe it is organized chaos! 

While the main challenge was the bus funding, which was solved by applying and winning grant funding, it was also sometimes challenging to get the sending districts to agree to a scheduled time. Offering the tours at various times of the year helped as it gave the sending schools flexibility to work within their schedules. ). The practice was funded through the Business Education Partnership grant with the Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board. This practice has just received funding for next year, so it will continue.


Students complete a survey when they are finished with their activities. There are rarely any negative comments, and all students feel as though they learned something about different careers that they did not know about beforehand. Many students come to summer camps as 7th and 8th graders, shadow in ninth grade and become part of the CTCLC community by enrolling in a program in 10th grade. Enrollment has been on a steady incline, despite the challenges of the COVID Pandemic, and continues to climb each year. 

Suggestions and Tips Form relationships with your local businesses and workforce development board. 

Additional Comments/Notes: Students at this age really enjoy these types of activities. It is loud, chaotic, but most of all FUN! 

Resources: Flyer, Sample Itinerary, and Career Exploration Questions





Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County

Colleen Stepanovich, Grant Administrator/Continuing Education Coordinator

Alex Zero, Career Resource Coordinator