CareerExplore NW was created after listening to our community’s expressed needs. 4 years ago while asking for underwriting for programming the expression “marketing is great, but what we really need is as workforce” kept popping up in the conversation. Additionally, teachers and administrators were expressing that they needed better ways to introduce students to careers and businesses in our region, with a goal to retain our local talent. As public television, with education as part of our core mission, we saw this as an opportunity to create a bridge between employer and student through the power of video, television, use of digital resources, and data. CareerExplore NW was born: a career exploration tool comprised of :90 video job spotlights, 360 degree Virtual Field Trips, and data to support each video to help students and job seekers make an informed decision.
We started by gathering financial sponsors and forging a partnership with our local workforce council. We then created an advisory council made up of the education community and our sponsors to ensure we created a tool that would work best for all involved. The sponsors fund the creation of :90 second career spotlight videos that go on air as well as on the www.careerexplorenw.org website. The workforce council provides relevant data (average salary, hours, skills, etc) for the website to support a deeper view, and the educational community ensures the tool gets used by students. The on air as well as digital approach ensures that students from all areas, urban and rural, have an opportunity to explore and learn about these careers.
To date, we have now had the opportunity to video spotlight 101 careers, create 7 Virtual Field Trips in 360-degree interactive format, and 4 career path videos. The project continues and we have expanded outside our immediate school districts into other districts across the state. We have created and built relationships with a host of new businesses, expanded our relationships in the educational community, and have put KSPS PBS in front of the highly sought-after middle school/high school audience.
The “why” of this has not changed since its inception: 1) Provide a community tool and educational resource that allows students and job seekers to find their path and make an informed decision on their career choice. 2) Create a talent pipeline for regional employers; 3) Use our medium to create a needed resource for the betterment of our region’s youth.