Preparing tomorrow’s workforce

Samantha Harms

Iowa Central Community College will host its annual career day, “The Game of Life,” on Oct. 25 for high school students in our area. The day is designed to be an interactive day for students to learn and explore various career opportunities available in our region. We anticipate approximately 1,200 high school students to attend the event. Due to logistics and capacity, Iowa Central offers the career day on a rotating schedule for schools in our region. This year, students from Fort Dodge Senior High, St. Edmond and Southeast Valley are attending.

Career Day is a valuable day for area students that sheds light on career awareness and helps prepare them for their future. The goal of the day is to help provide students with a dynamic and tangible experience that facilitates connections between their academic pursuits and potential professional endeavors in the future. It allows them to explore their interests and passions that are relevant to a career area that they are interested in.

The day is split up by grade to help address each grade’s career exploration needs. Freshmen and sophomores are able to explore career clusters. Career clusters are groups of careers is a group of jobs that are related or have a similar skill set. Clusters are useful for this age group to help introduce them to a group of careers in an area they may be interested in. It allows them to differentiate various careers in that cluster or learn more about a particular career they may not know much about.

Juniors and seniors are able to explore a specific career they are interested in. We believe that at this age, students are starting to think more specifically about a career since their future job is right around the corner. Students are able to choose from a variety of different careers to learn more about. They can connect with local business professionals and determine if that career path is a right fit for them.

“The Game of Life” career day also highlights informational sessions to help prepare our future workforce for their future career path. Freshmen and sophomores will attend a session called “Option Jeopardy” is a session that will provide information on various options that students have after high school in a “Jeopardy” game format. The different options that this session will highlight are workforce, on-the-job training, apprenticeship, two-year college, four-year college and military.

Juniors and seniors will attend a game show titled “The Job.” “The Job” is a game of interview questions in the style of the popular show, “The Voice.” Contestants must answer an interview question to a group of judges who cannot see them. If the judges like their answer, they will turn around. At the end of the game, all winners come back to compete to answer the final question to see who will be crowned winner of “The Job.”

This game allow students to learn how to interview in a fun, interactive manner that provides them with positive and constructive feedback from local human resource professionals.

All students will participate in our grand finale game show, “The Future is Right.” This session is mimicked off the popular game show, “The Price is Right.” This game provides information about career and tuition wages for students. Multiple students will be brought up on stage and will be asked a question that requires a number answer. Students will use whiteboards to write down their answers. The student closest to the number without going over will be able to play a game similar to “The Price is Right” show. Students will have a chance to win prizes and scholarships.

Iowa Central Community College is fortunate to partner with 100 different business professionals in our region to make career day possible for students. Our partnerships with our businesses are instrumental in providing a day that can help shape our future workforce and introduce them to their future career. Students are often unaware of what our region has to offer them so they look elsewhere. By connecting our students to business professionals in the area through career day, it provides an unique opportunity for businesses to help show our youths what our wonderful region has to offer them when it comes to employment and encourages them to stay local.

Samantha Harms is a work-based learning coordinator at Iowa Central Community College.