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Students Explore College and Career Pathways

Thousands of eighth-grade students met face-to-face with representatives from companies, postsecondary institutions and high schools at the DPS Eighth-Grade Career Fair.
Thousands of eighth-grade students met with representatives from companies, postsecondary institutions and high schools at the DPS Eighth-Grade Career Fair.

Students met with representatives from several industries to learn about potential career paths.

Students met with representatives from several industries to learn about potential career paths.

On Tuesday, thousands of eighth-grade students met face-to-face with representatives from approximately 90 companies, 20 postsecondary institutions and 35 high schools throughout Colorado at the eighth annual Denver Public Schools (DPS) Eighth-Grade Career Fair.

From veterinary schools, culinary programs and technology companies to DPS Early College high school programs, Community College of Denver and University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, young learners opened their eyes to their future possibilities – and the support offered to help them get there. Industry professionals and educators hosted booths to help these students begin to envision and pursue their own personalized college and career pathways.

“I’m so excited to be at the career fair today to learn about all of the possibilities!” said Evelyn, an eighth-grade student at Grant Ranch. Evelyn, along with nearly 4,000 of her eighth-grade peers, dressed for the day in business-casual attire and questioned business leaders and education professionals about what next steps students should take for success in college and career.

“Education is transformational for our students and career exploration should be a robust part of that,” said Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “We have a big goal: more homegrown talent. These conversations [throughout the career fair] will spark students’ interests and make a difference.”

Industry professionals and educators hosted students at booths to help them  envision their own college and career pathways.

Industry professionals and educators hosted students at booths to help them envision their own college and career pathways.

The event helps ensure that students are ready for college and career, which is a DPS strategic Denver Plan 2020 goal, and exposes them to careers early on. The fair is an important link between students’ ICAP (Individual Career and Academic Plans) activities that start in the sixth grade and lead to more structured guidance in high school.

“The Eighth-Grade Career Fair is not only part of a student’s ICAP, but it allows students at an early age to begin planning their future and setting long- and short-term goals,” said Miriam Linden, DPS counseling coordinator. “When students can begin to see the career possibilities that exist, then they can begin to make connections between their education and how it directly correlates to their career goals.”