learn / 2016

Careers Come Alive Virtually in the Classroom by Connecting Students, Teachers & Workplace Experts

Careers Come Alive Virtually  in the Classroom by Connecting Students, Teachers & Workplace Experts

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by ConnectEd

Through a media-rich, technology-based platform powered by students, teachers, and business/labor/nonprofit, this project brings an array of thriving LA careers to life in high school classrooms.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Nepris, Los Angeles Unified School District

Please describe your project proposal.

This project creates an integrated technology solution between ConnectEd and Nepris that supports the LAUSD vision and goals of college, career, and community readiness for all students. It combines real-world, relevant career exposure and mentoring based on student interest and goals,through a media-rich, technology-based platform. Content is designed by a collaborative community of educators and experts from local and global for-profit, non-profit, and labor organizations and associations.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Student education pipeline

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

Dropping out of school is a life-altering decision process that can start in middle school but picks up steam in grade 9. When students are not engaged in learning and cannot envision themselves in an exciting career, they see little reason to stay in school. A thriving and growing LA-region pipeline of students who succeed academically, aspire to postsecondary education or training, and want to engage in productive work demands significant career exposure that helps students create a vision for their own future. LA has an abundance of terrific career opportunities, but many of them are beyond the boundaries of students’ local communities or even their imaginations. To start addressing this problem, for the past 10 years, ConnectEd has supported LAUSD in building pathways that give students an engaging, college preparatory curriculum plus career exposure. LA students have accessed ConnectEd’s library of Day in the Life, career-themed videos, and teachers have used them and many other resources to design content for academic and technical courses. However, the number of career development experiences students can have in real workplace settings has been greatly limited by time, resources, and logistics. The integrated technology solution proposed here addresses this limitation by adding Nepris technology and resources to an existing, collaborative career development design process. It will be a vehicle for teachers, starting in grade 9, to facilitate an initial one (expert) to many (students) virtual career development experience based on the career theme of their existing career pathway and the students’ interests. Specifically, Nepris will match teacher requests to the skills of business/labor/and non-profit professionals and bring the right expert(s) into the classroom virtually to provide topic relevance, project mentoring, virtual tours of workplaces, opportunities for mock interviews, interactive Q&A sessions, and evaluation of students’ project work. The integrated product we are proposing offers a strong value proposition for students, teachers, LAUSD, and the community. A single tool will (1) offer relevant career-themed academic, technical, and career development curriculum, including a wide array of rich media resources; 2) provide a way for project leaders to manage connections between the district and industry, the community, non-profits, universities, and labor organizations; (2) increase opportunities for the employer community to engage easily with educators and students; and (3) enhance efforts by the district to capitalize on the equity and community commitments of professional organizations such as Women in Engineering, the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Hispanic Engineers, local arts organizations, and many others. Students from every corner of the region and background will have opportunities to learn about careers that have always been so near, and frequently so far.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

For many students, the 9th grade is a really challenging year with new classmates, harder courses, more complex schedules, and higher teacher expectations. No wonder many students who don’t see themselves as successful learners think seriously about dropping out. For LA to have a pipeline of well-prepared high school students who transition successfully into postsecondary education and 21st century careers, 9th grade students must stick it out. They must start by making it over the first hurdles: completing 9th grade, not being held back, and showing up in the 10th grade. A critical part of 9th grade success hinges on students seeing the importance of school for their futures and having decent attendance. Why? We know that students who miss too much school also miss lots of important content, don’t turn in homework, and don’t complete in-class assignments. In this project, we define success in terms of how much students in these technology-enabled career exposure activities engage in school, how they connect school success to their future lives, and their belief that they will complete high school. We will use two information sources to measure these outcomes: student attendance and responses to in-class survey questions. Our specific success measures will be (1) numbers of days absent from school; and (2) answers to survey questions about completing high school, readiness to be successful in grade 10, and enthusiasm about preparing for postsecondary education and a career.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support