Work-Based Learning - Career Day Activity Guide

  • Career Day Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Virtual Options
blue icon of a person holding a briefcase

Career Day Fact Sheet

What is Career Day?

A Career Day is a highly structured Career Awareness activity in which business partners from a variety of companies come together at the school or online to share information about their company, their job, and the education and skills that are required for success in their career.

Designed to meet specific learning objectives, a Career Day helps students connect what they’re learning in school with the workplace. They listen to speakers or navigate the event independently, seeking information about the industry and the career options it provides. They also learn about the education required for entry into the industry and participating business’s role in the local economy.

Sustaining and growing Career Days and all other Work-Based Learning activities depend on maintaining positive relationships with the participating employers. These employers should be treated as valued customers and partners with frequent check-ins to address participation needs as they arise.

Career Days are designed to:

  • Expose students to a variety of careers and jobs by connecting them with business partners.
  • Provide a realistic picture of the workplace.
  • Help students make the connection between school and the workplace.
  • Inform career planning.

Career Days are structured to:

  • Allow students to listen, receive information, ask questions.
  • Enable students to begin identifying areas of career interest.
  • Elevate students’ comfort level in interacting with adult professionals and demonstrate their communication skills.

Career Days are supported by:

  • Classroom preparation, including research on the industry and participating businesses.
  • Employer orientation and support.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.

Career Days are connected to:

  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • Future work-based learning activities.
  • The student’s next steps.

Career Days are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City schools.

Career Day Activities are recognized as a “Zero Hour” Supporting WBL activity by NYSED and the NYC DOE CTE

Career Day Formats

  • Presentation Only: Two, 40-minute panel sessions with 30 to 40 students participating in each session.
  • Presentation and Small Groups : One, 40-minute panel session with 80-100 students, followed by small groups for follow up and an interactive activity.
  • Networking Booths: Career Day booth format where students visit booths staffed by employers and network.
  • Speaker Series: Guest speaker series where industry representatives rotate and visit different classrooms.
  • Online Virtual An interactive – online career day where employers visit a classroom virtually.
  • Virtual Speaker Series: Guest Speaker series where industry representatives rotate through a virtual classroom over the day.

Required Materials

Implementation Materials

Support Materials

blue icon of a person holding a briefcase

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Coordinators* to ensure a successful Career Day

Before

  • Design the Career Day, working with a committee if one has been established. Choose the date and format, identify goals for the day, create an action plan and schedule planning meetings.
  • Prepare teachers and encourage them to participate before, during and after the Career Day. Share the Teacher Tip Sheet.
  • Have teachers help create learning objectives and work with students to prepare for the day and create questions they can ask.
  • Keep principal and staff well informed and publicize the event at staff meetings and in school announcements. Create a Career Day flyer and post several around the school and on the school website.
  • Provide employers an information packet about the school, including the format and schedule of events for the day. Share itinerary/program and agenda with employers one week in advance.
  • Confirm employer attendance and determine presentation needs. Let them know where to park, and share any visitor procedures they need to follow.
  • Make sure the employer volunteers are supported and prepared. Share questions to expect and encourage them to create an engaging and inter-active presentation – using visuals and props if possible.

During

  • Be the point person and trouble shooter on Career Day. Be prepared to address technology issues and have a back-up plan in case of speaker cancellations.
  • Distribute a schedule of events for the day to all parties.
  • Arrange for the employer volunteers to be met and escorted to the classroom, assembly hall or meet them early in the online space.. (This is a great activity for one or two students who have been trained as “school ambassadors”).
  • Distribute and collect feedback surveys.

After

  • Document the Career Day. Review all feedback surveys and summarize results. Debrief the day and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Help students update their Employability Skills Profile and think about any next steps they would like to take.
  • Work with teachers to coordinate “go deeper” activities to connect Career Day to classroom.
  • Send thank-you notes to guest speakers and businesses that provided donations.
  • Take pictures from Career Day and provide them to the companies for their websites or newsletters. Ensure you have signed releases for all photos.
  • Publicize the Career Day and the businesses in attendance by placing a story in the local newspaper or posting on the school or agency webpage.

  • Consider other potential public relations benefits and opportunities.

Tips for Conducting an Online Career Day

  • Select and personally practice using the selected technology.
  • Make sure all students have access to appropriate technology.
  • Decide how you will have students pose questions – Verbally or by entering on their device.
  • Do a test run with your students as well as the presenter(s).
  • Preload any slides or presentations from the speaker(s).
  • Decide how you want to manage the session. Sometimes it takes one person to moderate and another to monitor the technology and address any questions.
  • Decide which student reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
  • Remember, it’s possible that parents or guardians will be around and would be a good resource for potential future speakers.
  • Make sure you get feedback on the activity from the speaker(s) and the students.
  • Record and post the presentation for others to view and use in their classrooms.

*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.

Sample Timeline

  • Beginning of the School Year: Brainstorm business partners who could participate. Find a location.
  • Two months in advance: Invite business partners to participate. Secure date, time and location.
  • One month in advance: Meet with planning committee to review logistics and facility needs. Confirm participation of speakers.
  • One week in advance: Send planning brief to speakers with agenda for the day, logistics, event information and questions to expect.
  • On Career Day: Welcome presenters and manage event flow and agenda.
  • After Career Day: Send thank-you notes to all presenters and ensure student reflection activities take place.

Tips for Success

  • Engage in proper planning and preparation.
  • Address safety, legal and logistical details, including online platforms and connectivity.
  • Communicate with all parties.
  • Maximize learning potential.
  • Focus on building awareness.
  • Connect to the classroom.
  • Provide support for students and supervisors.
  • Promote student reflection.
blue icon of a person holding a briefcase

Career Day Virtual Options

Introduction

Translating a Career Day activity to a virtual classroom or set of classrooms is a fairly straightforward process. While Career Days are usually conducted at the school in an assembly-like setting, in some cases Career Days may be organized for the virtual classroom or set of classrooms via Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or some other technology. Related virtual activity options are also possible, where students conduct on-line research and share their findings, serving as a foundation for an activity and/or discussion in the classroom.

Virtual Activity Options

Remember, virtual activities either promote “live” student contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology, or are simulations and provide students with employer exposures through recordings, online research and related classroom activities.

Career Day Virtual Classroom (With Breakouts)

An interactive, online career day where employers visit a classroom or classrooms virtually. After a panel presentation, students visit individual industry partners in breakout rooms. At the end of the session, the class comes back together to share what they’ve learned and reflect on the activity.

Steps to Success

  • 1. Review the Career Day Guide and distribute materials to all parties
  • 2. Create a timed agenda for the Career Day
  • 3. Arrange for industry partners provide a panel presentation
  • 4. Assign industry partners to breakout rooms by industry
  • 5. Rotate students or assign them to breakout rooms based on interest
  • 6. Rotate students through breakout rooms
  • 7. Debrief in a group discussion(s)

Career Day Virtual Classroom (Sequenced)

  • Schedule a number of industry partners to visits the virtual classroom or set of classrooms throughout a school day.
  • Combine a brief Guest Speaker activity followed by a group informational interview.

Career Day Research & Share

  • Have students conduct online research on a range of careers in an industry of interest, gather information, find compelling recorded presentations on careers in the industry and have them share their findings in the virtual classroom.
  • Consider making it a team-based activity and have a small group of students work together and prepare a presentation for the rest of the class or pathway cluster.

Go Hybrid

  • Record a career day panel and use it as a basis for a virtual classroom activity
  • If possible, have one or more of the career day panelists visit the virtual classroom to share information and answer questions.

Special Considerations

  • Get employer permission to record and reuse the session.
  • Select and test appropriate technology with all parties.
  • Decide how students will pose questions (raise hand, chat box etc.)
  • Decide who will moderate and who will provide tech support during the session.
  • Conduct a practice run with students.

Resources & Links

  • United States Dept of Labor
    Provides extensive career information on occupations and careers including O*Net and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Cue Career
    Cue Career aggregates the resources of industry associations for career exploration/navigation and workforce development. Students explore careers by watching video interviews with people who are early in their career (members of associations)