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9-20-18 — Careers on Wheels Drives Interests for Students

Sept. 20, 2018 ~ In September, after months of careful planning, half of the Olathe Public Schools fourth-grade students traveled to the Olathe District Activity Center for the first Careers on Wheels event. This event featured stations comprised of dozens of vendors who represented career fields and workforce opportunities.

This event was held for the fourth-graders of the east side of the district. A second event will be held May 15, for students who attend schools on the west side of the district.

Students had time to get a brief explanation of a career, meet professionals and ask questions before cycling through to the next station.

Olathe Public Schools College and Career Readiness and Counseling Services Coordinator Angie Salava served on the committee made up of counselors, district coordinators, principals and administrative assistants who helped coordinate the event. Salava explained that current research suggests that students begin determining career interests as early as the fourth grade.

“We wanted to partner with community members in a way that would not only expose students to careers, but would be something that our fourth-graders would enjoy,” said Salava. “Some of our elementary schools already provide similar events for their students, but we felt it was important for all district students to receive this information.”

The 21st Century Academies were represented as student-led demonstrations allowed fourth-graders to become aware of educational opportunities that are available in their future. These opportunities will help create industry knowledge and establish professional contacts before leaving high school.

“The biggest take away is that students learned about careers that they may not have even heard of before,” Salava said. “That knowledge provides a foundation for further research and exploration.”

Although the second event is months away, planning has already begun. Committee members are overwhelmed by the amount of community members and volunteers eager to help with this event.

“There are a lot of details to plan for an event for 1,100 fourth-graders,” Salava said. “We are blessed to live in a community that supports our schools and invests in our students’ futures.”