Work-Based Learning - Career Day Activity Guide

  • Career Day Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Required Documents
  • Implementation Tools

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 a school 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 Formats

  • Option 1: Two, 40-minute panel sessions with 30 to 40 students participating in each session.
  • Option 2: One, 40-minute panel session with 80-100 students, followed by small groups for follow up and an interactive activity.
  • Option 3: Career Day booth format where students visit booths staffed by employers and network.
  • Option 4: Guest speaker series where industry representatives rotate and visit different classrooms.

Support Materials

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 or assembly hall. (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.

*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.
  • Communicate with all parties.
  • Maximize learning potential.
  • Focus on building awareness.
  • Connect to the classroom.
  • Provide support for students and supervisors.
  • Promote student reflection.