K-12 Career Awareness Program
The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) has partnered with the Mobile Area Education Foundation to implement a set of K-12 career awareness initiatives that aim to reach students at least four times during their school experience. At present, the initiative plans feature programs that visit students in kindergarten, fourth grade, and eighth grade. The programs are being designed for students in the eight counties of Southwest Alabama: Baldwin, Conecuh, Clarke, Choctaw, Escambia, Monroe, Mobile, and Washington.
In fourth grade, the "Wouldn't it be Cool" (WiBC) presentation aims to link core school subjects to every day careers through the utilization of business/industry volunteers. The program taps volunteers in order to provide a hands-on demonstration for an entire classroom of students. Volunteer presenters show students an animated DVD produced by SAWDC, and then follow the DVD with a tailored hands-on discussion of each presenter's career. The video shows actual footage of high-need industries in the region and discusses the importance of core school subjects, such as Reading, Math, and Science, as they relate to each of the careers. In its third year, WiBC reaches over 4,500 fourth grade students in approximately 225 classrooms in Mobile County alone.
Eighth grade has been identified as a critical decision point in a student's academic career. Students will make choices in eighth grade that will set them on an academic path throughout high school. Because of this, SAWDC has focused on two key programs for eighth graders. The first is entitled "Choices" and is the more advanced counterpart to "Wouldn't it be Cool". This program also utilizes industry volunteers to give presentations to students; however, in the "Choices" program, volunteers discuss the importance of selecting rigorous academic courses that will result in a career or postsecondary education. The "Choices" program was piloted during the 2009-2010 school year. Both the "Choices" and "Wouldn't it be Cool" programs are managed by the Mobile Area Education Foundation.
The second eighth grade initiative is the SAWDC Worlds of Opportunity Career Expo. In The expo focuses on hands-on learning experiences that allow students to more fully understand the different aspects of a long list of careers close to home. More information on the SAWDC Worlds of Opportunity Career Expo click here.