Cowen Institute Career Day of Action 2014

On March 21, 2014, the Cowen Institute hosted the first annual Cowen Institute Career Day of Action. Keeping with our mission to advance the success of New Orleans children on their educational pathways, the College and Career Readiness team provides direct services to prepare and connect New Orleans youth to college and careers through a broad spectrum of initiatives.

For our first Career Day of Action, we invited twenty-six local business professionals representing a range of career fields, from welding to dentistry, to meet with the junior class (sixty-four students) of one of our partner schools, the New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School. The main goals of the event were to expose students to careers they might not typically think of, challenge them to think about their professional goals, create an opportunity for meaningful networking and facilitate interviewing practice. These generous businessmen and women spent half a day with students, sharing their diverse, winding pathways to and throughout their careers and engaging in lively one-on-one discussions with students.

The event consisted of two main segments: career panels and networking interviews. The panelists, eager to be helpful, shared their journeys from school to career and described their current jobs. The panel discussions gave students a glimpse into the many choices and opportunities that follow high school graduation. “When I was a high school-aged girl, I never had any exposure to female metalworkers, and I wanted to introduce the idea of a possibility to young people,” explained Lauren McAvoy of Button Knot Metalworks.

The second portion of the day was dedicated to networking interviews. In rapid, round-robin fashion, students rotated among the business folks and practiced informational interviews and speaking of their skills, interests and aspirations. The room buzzed with conversation as students learned about new career paths and how to start their own. One student said that the event “influenced my college and career choice by really making me think about what I loved.”

The College and Career Readiness team at the Cowen Institute looks forward to expanding the Career Day of Action in 2015 to include more students and business leaders. If you are interested in participating or supporting the event, please contact Alex Hand at ahand2@tulane.edu.

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