Reflecting on the 2015 Freshman Career Exploration Fair

For companies and organizations across the city, the annual "My Future, My Way" Freshman Career Exploration Fair provides an opportunity to connect with MNPS students and schools. Through fun and engaging booths and activities, businesses are able to touch young lives, stir student curiosity about all that is available for them over the next four years, and, in many cases, to ignite passion for a career pathway. As we actively participate in influencing their future, we take positive steps in building the future of Nashville.

As an iconic symbol of Nashville, the Parthenon is committed to playing a significant role in the education of every child – from pre-K through high school and beyond. We are delighted to have been involved in the career fair for several years, recognizing that it is a potential "tipping point" in the education of so many of our students. With that in mind, we want to do everything possible to make their fair experience positive and successful.

I am always pleased by how many of the 7,000+ MNPS freshmen who attend the fair later point to one interactive display or one in-depth conversation with a professional as playing a huge role in their vision for a career. The remark, “And he/she took time to talk to me…” pops up over and over. These young people are impressed to see for themselves how many people in this community really care about them and their future. Knowing that you can play such a central role in the lives of these students, the question is, why wouldn’t any company or organization want to participate?

My favorite moment of the 2015 Career Exploration Fair on Nov. 12 was when Mayor Megan Barry named our own Arts, Media and Communication (AMC) section as winner of the Best in Show Gold Record! Winning this prestigious award for the first time was a thrill for all of the creative and dedicated organizations that gave so much of their time and effort to engage students in the exploration of the hundreds of career pathways available to them. These friends and colleagues inspire young people and each other, sharing creative ideas, collaborating on projects throughout the year, and building a city that inspires people of all ages. As chair of the AMC section this year, I was so excited to see all of their dedication and hard work rewarded.

Of course, other moments that stand out for me are my in-depth conversations with so many students who were genuinely impressed and excited by this opportunity. And I have to say one of the memories that will live forever for me was seeing an impromptu ballet performance with a dancer from Nashville Ballet and one of Nashville’s finest – an officer from the Metro Police Department! Bravo!

If your organization would like to impact and engage the city’s future workers, to help create a vision of the future for young people, and to demonstrate your own devotion to community engagement and enrichment, contact the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the PENCIL Foundation, or Metro Schools, and get on the information mailing list for next year’s Career Exploration Fair. I guarantee the members of your organization will walk out of that exhibit hall next year exhausted, elated, and inspired by Metro’s students!

'My Future, My Way' Career Exploration Fair 11-12-15
The annual "My Future, My Way" Career Exploration Fair, presented by Shoney's, is an opportunity for MNPS freshmen to connect with business leaders, participate in hands-on activities, and learn more about various career choices and the educational pathways associated with reaching their career goals. It also helps students begin to think about what career academies they might choose for the remainder of their years in high school.

'My Future, My Way' Career Exploration Fair 11-12-15

The success of the career fair depends on the time, talents and energy of volunteers from the business community, who devote their day to meeting and talking with these freshmen about careers in a huge variety of industries.

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