The Indiana State Fairgrounds has been filled with 8th grade students the last two days, as 69 schools took part in the 2019 #JAJobSparksIndy program.
The half-day sessions featured eight career clusters: Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics; Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources; Architecture, Engineering & Construction; Business & Finance; Government, Law & Public Service; Health & Life Sciences; Hospitality & Tourism; and Technology.
Based on work they'd already completed in classrooms, students had narrowed their selection of career cluster, and in small groups, moved from one area to another, experiencing the opportunities they might find in each career.
For example, students who visited the Health & Life Sciences cluster donned scrub hats and masks and surgical gloves for some of the activities, while others gave themselves an "ultrasound" on their wrist, or attempted to intubate a training "dummy." In the Architecture, Engineering & Construction cluster, students explored a tiny home, practiced their skills as a brick mason, and operated heavy machinery via scale models. And in the Business & Finance area, some students turned entrepreneurs for the morning and moved their product from inception to market, suffering from normal business challenges along the way.
The program, now in its fourth year, has been designed to "spark" an interest in students as they begin to think about their future. Whether that path includes college, the military, certifications or a direct path into the workforce, programs like #JAJobSpark get students thinking about what they might enjoy, or not enjoy. And that leads to better decision-making, which benefits everyone!