Virtual program gives Duval County students opportunity to explore career options

Duval County eight graders will be exposed to a wide range of opportunities at a career expo this week.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some students in Duval County are participating in a virtual career expo this week to learn about a wide range of career opportunities.

Junior Achievement of North Florida is teaming up with Duval County Public Schools for its JA Inspire-A Virtual Career Exploration Program for eighth-graders.

“This is something that is new, it’s innovative, it’s captivating, " said Stephen Burslem, Program Manager for Junior Achievement. “It’s something that goes in-depth where the students can learn more about themselves, but it’s also fun for students to explore a virtual career fair and learn about all the different organizations here in Florida.”

Burslem walked News4Jax through the virtual job fair. It takes students virtually through the lobby of a convention center with 8 different exhibit halls.

“They have these 8 different exhibit halls, representing the 8 different career clusters represented,” explained Burslem.

The eight career groups include:

  • Technology
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Health and Life Sciences
  • Business and Finance
  • Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Logistics
  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
  • Government, Public Administration, and Law

“Once they actually click into those exhibit halls, they have all those different organizations that are represented based on the different career clusters,” said Burslem.

From there, students can read about the different companies and watch videos to learn more.

“These become our citizens, they become the people who contribute to our community,” said Burslem. “So they really know more about themselves, they know about their strengths and how they can actually contribute to a certain job. I think it benefits the community as a whole.”

Before the virtual career expo, Burslem said teachers involved in the program taught five different lessons.

“The students get to learn more about themselves, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and how that actually matches up with a certain career or career cluster,” explained Burslem.

After the expo, Burslem said there will be an in-class session to debrief and talk about the next steps for students.

Junior Achievement said the program is for DCPS teachers and eighth-graders. It hopes to expand the program to other schools in Northeast Florida soon. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

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