New Opportunity for Student Career Exploration
SPARC (Success Plans and Roads to Careers) is a collaborative effort between the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, and the United Way of Delaware which aims to enable connections between local employers and young people as they explore their career options in high school and beyond.
I recently attended the SPARC Expo, an event for all Delaware employers–public, private, government, and non-profit. The event was intended to inform employers about SPARC, including benefits and opportunities for businesses to work with students, and expectations for businesses participating.
As recently discussed by Robert Ford, Director of Corporate Engagement for the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, this month SPARC is launching in 7 pilot schools. Through Career Cruising, students will have the ability to interact with nearly 100 companies from across the state. Opportunities include finding out more information about careers at these companies, asking questions of employees who are serving as Career Coaches, or applying to participate in work-based learning activities, including company tours, job shadows, and internships.
This seems like a great opportunity to allow Delaware’s students to explore their career options as they think about their futures. When I was in high school, as I thought about my future, I often didn’t know where to find information about the jobs or careers I was interested in pursuing. This platform will provide a great opportunity for students to explore their interests and passions, ask questions to career coaches currently holding positions in their field of interest, and find internship opportunities in these areas.
By 2016, SPARC hopes to have 250 workplaces, 500 career coaches, and 500 work-based learning experiences available for Delaware students to explore. Also by that time, they hope to have 25 schools and 10,000 students with access to the platform.
Overall, all in attendance seemed excited about the opportunities available through SPARC. Participants hope that this will help them engage with students in a way that helps them to develop relationships as students’ progress through high school and into the post-secondary opportunities of their choice. There is optimism that this will help keep talent local, and assist companies in interacting with more diverse student populations.
As the SPARC pilot launches this year, I look forward to hearing more about student’s thoughts on the platform, including experiences with career coaching and work-based learning opportunities.