Over three days in early February, CareerBuilder presented Find Your Calling to 1,200 juniors and seniors at Maxwell High School of Technology’s Work Ready Program in Lawrenceville, Georgia. And it was a rousing success. For everyone.
Not only did students discover exciting career and education options that matched their interests, but CareerBuilder reps got a delightful reminder of how their own callings are changing lives.
“The event surpassed my expectations,” said Molly Adams, senior manager. “I saw numerous ‘light bulb’ moments with the high school students about college and careers.”
“I’ve taken a lot of tests like that before and they weren’t helpful, but [Find Your Calling] was really helpful and very informative,” said a student.
Students Primed for Action
The students showed up with game faces. One day they dressed in suits appropriate for interviews; other days, some sported the garb of their careers of interests, such as mechanics.
Their wardrobe captured one of the reasons why Find Your Calling clicked so well here: Maxwell is no ordinary public high school.
Almost community college-like in nature, Maxwell prepares students—very early—for careers with strong local opportunity. Students hale from other Gwinnet County high schools to take advantage of Maxwell’s career-oriented classes: construction, culinary arts, electronics, graphic design, flight operations, and law enforcement, to name just a few.
Another reason is that the CareerBuilder speakers launched their presentation with sobering facts about college debt. Student loans are now the second largest form of consumer debt—passing 1.1 trillion, with an average of $35K per student.
In fact, 70% of college grads are in debt, yet unemployment and underemployment rates in their demographic remain way too high.
Top it off with the fact that over 80% of college students take more than four years to earn a bachelor’s degree (prolonging college expenses with no degree to show for it), and it’s no wonder college has become a minefield—apart from the normal confusion as students try to figure out their passions and paths.
This had an impact on Maxwell students. “Their eyes widened when we got to those slides; they hadn’t really realized the magnitude of the decision to take on debt,” said Daniel Roelkey, associate manager. “It reinforced the importance of picking the right career.”
Leveraging Hard Data
Maxwell’s students were used to presentations on key topics such as how to write a résumé, interview for a job, or pitch themselves for an opportunity. But what they hadn’t seen before was a demo on how labor market data can help them plan careers and pick the best education.
“We were able to discuss not just how you present yourself, but what you need to prepare yourself for,” Molly said. “We showed them how they can actually leverage hard data for that—which they loved.”
Too many young people find themselves marching down a career path without much intel on salary, opportunity, or education. Not with Find Your Calling in the room. Meticulous, real-time labor market data is the lifeblood of the site.After a brief assessment that captures a student’s preferences on various activities, Find Your Calling presents information on hundreds of careers, all sorted according to how likely they will interest the student. Salary, growth, and companies hiring are just some of the facts provided. And once a student clicks on a career, they can explore schools that offer relevant programs.
“I really did find the website extremely helpful because it gives you a lot of information on [a particular job] that other websites don’t give you,” said one of Maxwell’s students.
“I Need to Show My Mom This Site”
For some, Find Your Calling confirmed what they already thought they wanted to do, but still had a few twists. Indeed, even when students were confident in pursuing a a career category—typical of the savvy Maxwell crowd—they frequently had no idea of the sheer variety of jobs within.
“I wasn’t entirely too surprised by my results, but I was by the jobs that were picked for me,” said one student. “I actually got a 94% [match rating] on Education and one of those jobs was being an assistant teacher, which is what I do at my job now.”
For others, Find Your Calling showed brand new ways of navigating their career journey. “I learned that there are jobs out there for me that I would have never thought about,” said one, while another realized that “I fit more into medicine and music than I thought. I discovered careers I did not even think existed.”
One student spontaneously decided to introduce Find Your Calling at home the next time the college conversation surfaced: “My mom keeps telling me I need to apply to college but I don’t know what to do yet. I need to show her this site!”
Across the board, those three days with Find Your Calling spurred students to be more open-minded and explorative in this pivotal moment on the brink of college and career. And it was a joy to watch.
For the CareerBuilder presenters on site—for CareerBuilder and Emsi as a whole—helping others find their calling is our calling. And it is reactions like this student from Maxwell that remind us why we love coming to work every day: Through Find Your Calling, “I learned that I am more than I thought I was,” she said.
That’s our calling. Let us help you find yours.
Discover YOUR career match on Find Your Calling Day.
Join us for Find Your Calling Day on March 2 and enter to win a $5,000 scholarship. Find out how to participate on FindYourCallingDay.com.