Published: February 22, 2006
The first ever Career Day for high school seniors was held at PJC on Feb. 17. Hosted by the career and technical education student resources program, the event was a big change from the usual Career Nights that have been held on campus for the last five years.
Barbara Wall, the technical preparation coordinator at PJC, worked on this event receiving help from more than 70 people around campus, support from the administration, and funding from the technical preparation grant. This grant supports an articulation agreement between public schools and PJC.
“Attendance dropped at Career Night in the past few years,” Wall said, in response to the move to a daytime event.
Wall believes the drop was due to students having homework, part-time jobs and in some cases no transportation.
The Career Day was a chance to work with the public schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties so that seniors could have the opportunity to learn more about PJC.
Participants included students who are currently enrolled in vocational or career and technical classes at their high schools. These students were chosen because they were particularly interested in A.A.S. and A.S. degrees.
The event included three breakout sessions that covered important topics such as procedures for admissions, testing, counseling, financial aid, and also included seven support services offered at PJC. Students were greeted by several clubs and organizations on campus. The PJC Dance Team even performed for them. They were also given bus tours of campus with special stops made to the WSRE building and performance studios as well as the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts.
“We felt a lot of the kids may not even know the art gallery is there,” Wall said. “Many of them will end up taking a class in that building for fulfillment of humanities electives.”
Overall, 12 public schools and 372 students showed up for the event. The student center and one of the parking lots had to be closed down to host the large number of students. Though originally planning for around 500 students, Wall seemed pleased at the number of attendees for their first Career Day.
Career specialist, Paula Rider, from West Florida High School, has worked with Wall on several occasions and was thankful to Wall and the student resources program for sponsoring the event.
“The teachers from PJC were well prepared and enthusiastic. I felt that our students came away with a new appreciation of our local junior college,” she said.
Students and teachers who attended the event were sent evaluations in hopes that the response will be enough to continue to develop future events.
As for Career Nights, Wall is waiting to see what will happen. She did say that if they decide to keep it, “it will be marketed more as a community event.” This will allow for those people who are already career oriented and want to return to school or earn their first degree to attend after the work day is over.