The 9th and 10th grade students from Pender Public Schools and Bancroft-Rosalie Public School participated in Connecting the Dots: A Career Exploration Day on February 7, 2017 at Pender Public Schools. Ninth and tenth grade students from Tekamah-Herman and Lyons-Decatur Northeast Schools also participated in Connecting the Dots: A Career Exploration Day on February 6 in Tekamah, NE.

These programs were brought to the schools through a partnership between the Nebraskan Indian Community College (NICC) and Nebraska Extension to help area youth gain a better grasp on their future.

The interactive career exploration simulation program is designed to help students learn more about careers of interest as well as how to connect the dots from where they are now through postsecondary study, to the work-place. The students experienced a real life simulation to learn how their high school choices impact their post-secondary study and their workplace experiences. They came to the event with a specific career field they felt they were interested in. Then they had the opportunity to learn more about their favorite careers and possibly some careers they had never considered.
Students were able to learn about the importance of networking as they begin to prepare for their careers, especially with the local business presenters that came in from the community to talk and teach the youth about their specific career. These local professionals included people from a variety of fields such as human services, industrial technology, agriculture, and education. They also shared personal comments and suggestions including: Don't be afraid to try something new. Just because you start out on a career path, don't let that stop you from changing directions to find something you really like. Find something you love to do and you'll never work a day in your life.

Through breakout sessions they built work readiness skills including resume building and evaluation and personality traits. All of these were ways of having fun learning together and helping them understand their own strengths and weaknesses and how that might relate to a successful future career.

For more information on Connecting the Dots programming contact Nebraska Extension in Burt County at 402-374-2929, Thurston County at 402-385-6041 or ask a local student about their experience.