Career Connections & Pathways
For Amy Parris, Othello’s Director of School to Career, the 2018 High School Career Showcase was more than just an annual event. Held on October 18 at the Othello High School gymnasium, the 2nd annual Career Showcase was part of the district’s broader Pathways Program, which seeks to connect all Othello students, K-12, with five career categories: Human Services, Business, Agriculture, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), and Visual & Performing Arts. The goal is that each of Othello’s schools will identify ways to incorporate the Pathways Program into their building’s curriculum. At Othello High School, the Career Showcase provides meaningful connections for high school students, while also building a powerful list of committed community partners who have agreed to be called upon by Othello teachers at all grade levels.
During the Career Showcase, students in 8th-12th grade browsed exhibitor booths run by Othello businesses to learn more about local companies and career opportunities. The nearly 1500 participating students also began establishing relationships with future employers, which is incredibly beneficial for OHS seniors, who are required to participate in Senior Site Visits with local businesses in order to graduate. The Othello Industry Council partners with OSD to host the showcase in an effort to populate the local workforce while exposing youth to careers in their community. After last year’s first showcase, OHS students were looking forward to the 2018 showcase with great anticipation.
"Last year’s inaugural Showcase birthed many partnership opportunities for our students,” said Ms. Parris, “and this year’s event did not disappoint. I’ve been nothing but impressed with the response we’ve received and the support from our community."
Ms. Parris says that career fairs and the focus on teaching students employability skills seemed to be lacking in education for many years. However, most high school administrators and counselors will point out that college is not for every student. According to Ms. Parris, the district’s data indicates that 40% of Othello students will not go on to college. By requiring senior site visits and offering additional opportunities for connections with local employers, OHS is able to expose students to the amazing job opportunities available right in their backyard. Whether students continue on to college or technical school, or move straight into employment, the connections they are making with local professionals are excellent opportunities to learn about vital soft skills and how to prepare for the workforce.
While high school students are closer in age to entering a career, Ms. Parris urges all parents to speak with their students of all ages about career possibilities and what they want to be.
“Talk to your kids about what they’re interested in, and how important it is to find something that they want to do,” Ms. Parris says.
Parents and community businesses are encouraged to reach out to Othello’s School to Career department to learn more about how Othello is preparing students for career pathways, along with ways to get involved. The district is deeply appreciative of the more than 35 local businesses who participated in this year’s Career Showcase, and who continue to provide support through classroom presentations, site visits, and more. Your support is paving the way for our students’ success!