PACE Career Exploration Day Connects Local Leaders to Student Learners

June 14, 2024
Students visiting a new building site with Adam Nyborg Independent Construction.

Thirty-four eighth grade students from Profile Middle School participated in an immersive career exploration event to learn more about potential career opportunities from ten local business leaders in Littleton and Franconia, NH. The pilot Career Exploration Day event was organized by members of PACE (Persistence and Continuing Education), a federally funded program through Campus Compact for New Hampshire that provides career and college readiness programming to middle and high school students in northern NH.

PACE Coordinator, Jennifer Gilbert, organized the Career Exploration Day event to encourage students to envision possible future career paths through hands-on site visits with local businesses. Participating businesses were encouraged to inspire students by sharing their educational and professional journey’s. Gilbert recognized the impact each of our stories can have in inspiring middle school students on their path from high school to future careers.

Students visiting Littleton Regional Hospital.
Students visiting Littleton Regional Hospital.

“As a former middle school paraprofessional, I see great value investing in this age group as many eighth graders are on the brink of entering their first jobs.” Gilbert shared. “By opening their eyes to future career pathways now, the PACE team hopes to encourage these students to explore their interests throughout high school to provide perspective as they narrow in on their future pathway.”

Seven different job sectors were represented within the ten participating businesses, which included Theatre UP, Shaun Terhune Photography, Baba Yaga, Little Village Toy & Book Shop, White Mountains Canning Company, Littleton Fire Department, Littleton Police Department, Littleton Regional Healthcare Hospital, Gale River Cooperative Preschool, and Adam Nyborg Environmental Building. Leading up to the Career Exploration Day, the PACE team led two special workshops at Profile Middle School to prepare students for the event.

Students visiting a new building site with Adam Nyborg Environmental Building.
Students visiting a new building site in Easton with Adam Nyborg Environmental Building.

Cindy McLaren, Director of School Counseling at Profile, noted the positive impact that Career Exploration Day had on their students. “It was a huge success, and the Profile students gained so much from their time with their business host. They learned about various career paths, which provided them with invaluable insights and a better understanding of future opportunities.”

Theatre UP staff showcasing props to students backstage.
Theatre UP staff showcasing props to students backstage.

Echoing this sentiment, Lynne Grigelevich, the Executive Director of Theatre UP, celebrated Career Exploration Day as a win-win for students, businesses, and communities, emphasizing how the event helps open doors for student mentorship and employment opportunities.

PACE has plans underway to expand and scale Career Exploration Day events across Littleton, Berlin, and Colebrook for the 2024-25 academic year. If your business is eager to join this transformative journey and inspire the next generation, reach out to PACE Coordinator, Jennifer Gilbert, at gilbert {at} compactnh(.)org.