It is very important to start career exploration at an early age for students to start thinking about career development. The conversations need to happen to get students career ready so that they are able to attain educational achievements and performance levels needed to reach personal and career goals. Career development gets the wheels turning in students minds so that they can start putting a plan in place for their future.
At Great Plains Technology Center-Lawton, Oklahoma career development starts at our Technology Center in the fifth grade. Fifth grade students attend a career development program called Discovery Zone. The purpose of Discovery Zone is for fifth grade students to start thinking about career exploration and awareness. The students are provided with hands-on activities and rotate through different career major modules that are offered at Great Plains Technology Center.
In the eighth grade, students attend Tech Know Zone. Tech Know Zone provides eighth grade students the opportunity to get hands-on knowledge regarding traditional and non-traditional career fields. Eighth grade is a crucial time because middle school students are transitioning into high school. Tech Know Zone allows for students to have more knowledge of programs offered so that the student can make an informed decision pertaining to their four year individual career academic plan.
Another career development opportunity offered at the middle school level is the Career Connection camp which is a two week, all day, camp offered to sixth through eighth grade students. Career Connections is an opportunity for middle school students to experience some of the exciting hands-on educational experiences offered to high school students at Great Plains Technology Center.
In order to get students career ready it is best if career development starts at an early age. At Great Plains Technology Center, we are able to see our hard work pay off because the students that attended Discovery Zone, Tech Know Zone, and Career Connections camp have become our high school students and enrollment and retention has increased! By implementing these opportunities to elementary and middle school students we are able to provide individuals with the training and skills necessary at the high school level for students to be successful and competitive in the workforce.