By Sarah Moylan, Senior Director, Talent & Workforce
How do I know our first year of CAREEROCKIT was an incredible success? For starters, 100 percent of the businesses that answered our post-event survey say they’re planning to re-engage next year. Beyond that, it’s just that pit-of-the-stomach-kind of pride I feel when I watch the video recap of our “launch year” and sense we’re truly improving futures.
Throughout the week of April 1 – 8, thousands of students had these great career experiences – workshops, tours, demonstrations and more – both in their classrooms and at almost 100 of our area businesses. We saw eyes open as the kids learned about the different careers waiting for them right here at home. We connected with teachers who now had a new tool to help engage their students in today’s and tomorrow’s careers.
CAREEROCKIT is all about building our talent pipeline so our region can meet its current and future talent needs. The idea sprang from a two-fold need to engage more businesses in the talent development process and to educate, excite and inspire tomorrow’s workforce.
As we were brainstorming solutions, it occurred to us – the initiatives that are most successful in our community (take Omaha Gives! for example) have bold goals that people can rally behind and connect to emotionally.
So, we set a big, aggressive goal ourselves: offer 10,000 career experiences during our first CAREEROCKIT week. Sure, I’d bolt awake some nights wondering if we’d aimed to high, but that only encouraged me to speak to more business groups, education groups, superintendents and teachers. (I got really good at telling the CAREEROCKIT story – and people really connected with it. It helped that it was big.)
More importantly, we enlisted our economic development partners throughout the region and set individual CAREEROCKIT experience goals for each of their counties. We challenged them to challenge their business to participate in this brand-new endeavor and make it a huge success. And that’s what happened.
After months of planning and collaboration, we held our inaugural CAREEROCKIT the week of April 1 – 8. In the end, it encompassed:
- 12,606 interested students
- 62 area schools across 8 counties
- 94 host businesses
- 11,815 career experiences
We set a high mark – and we achieved it. As we start ramping up for our next CAREEROCKIT in February, we want even more experience but also even more focus. We are a growing tech economy; we need to be developing and producing even more tech talent to meet demand. CAREEROCKIT II will have more of a tech focus, and we’ll work to recruit more tech experiences for students.
By the time students leave their educational career path, we want them to have a huge portfolio of career connections, whether it’s experiences, job shadows or internships. We want them to be able to narrow down and narrow out their career choices. In the end, CAREEROCKIT really isn’t about the week – that just the ignition. What’s really important are the lasting connections that are made, the minds that are expanded and where the flight takes us all from there.
We’re looking forward to a tremendous CAREEROCKIT year two. It’s set for the week of Feb. 11 – 17, 2018. Interested in participating with your classroom or as a host business? Check out CAREEROCKIT.com for more information.