Exploring Careers with the Explorers

In HS I was part of the Boy Scout Explorer Program and worked 1 night a week in downtown Pittsburgh at Ketchum PR - this gave me an edge.

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

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When I was in high school I was a Boy Scout - yes, I am a girl. I was part of a co-ed program called the Explorers. Junior Year I was walking in the hallway in my HS and saw a paper flyer on the wall. I decided to check it out and spent the next 2 years going to Ketchum PR one night a week on Thursdays from 6-8 PM. Having this career experience so early gave me an edge. I learned about accounting, IT, marketing and PR and design. I received mentorship from experienced folks and from a Major in the US Army that was working at Ketchum on Special Assignment. Exposing youth to careers - showing them multiple pathways helps them imagine the possibilities, build their skills in focused ways and puts them on the path to success quicker. Additionally, they can "fail fast" and see if a career isn't for them! I ended up being offered a FT job at Ketchum when I was a freshman in college and worked while I went to school to help pay for my education. 

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Give youth a chance to see what jobs are out there in the "real-world." Mentors matter.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meredith Herrera

Hi Lisa, I'm with Molly here, I just love the emphasis on 'multiple pathways,' and your story reminded me of how much community based infrastructure and programs can work in partnership with educational institutions.  

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

I've been working on a project to build multiple pathways with colleagues at my school and we are building 7-8 of these career pathways. Each will be tied to work study positions where students have access to externships, community organizations (the museums, science centers, etc) resources and courses and high education institutions yours, college in high school classes, etc!  

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV

I'm glad you've taken this idea forward into Ideate!! The opportunity to fail fast is missing from so many childrens' lives, and makes the college application (and choosing major) process so much more scary. 

Photo of Molly McMahon

Lisa- wow. This is such a great story, and love this exploration into your own past, putting yourself in student shoes. It's neat to think about leadership, real life, and mentorship creating transformative experience that really bring confidence and support to young people in their journey. I can't wait to see you building off  this to in the Ideate phase. 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

Thanks Molly - looking forward! 

Photo of Jessica Lura

This is fabulous! Did you see Iris Goedhart 's post on what they are doing in the Netherlands on exposing students to careers so that they can decide if they are interested in the job and to build buy-in for the student's current educational courses (https://collaborate.teachersguild.org/challenge/reach-higher-better-make-room-teachers-guild-college-journey-collaboration/discover/innovatieklas-brings-context-and-challenges-students-to-take-initiative )? There are some interesting connections between the two.

Are there similar programs today in Pittsburgh?

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

Looks neat! I don't know that we have this exact program but at my school the kids work 1 day a week at 50+ orgs to explore careers. 

Photo of Barbara Lee

That Boy Scout program can now be brought in part to everyone via Google Expeditions! They have Career Expeditions --  a "day in the life" of, for instance, a chef, a coder, a civil engineer, a metal artisan, paleontologist, park ranger, pharmacist... What an inspiring use of tech! Wouldn't it be awesome to then connect the student who views that expedition with a mentor via Skype to broaden the experience?

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

Love this idea! 

Photo of Emma Scripps

Wow. Thanks for sharing your personal story! I so agree- I think these extra-curricular programs help ground academic learnings in the real world for students - and help them to imagine themselves in the world of work. So valuable in the college-going journey. Thanks for sharing Lisa! 

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

Very welcome! I love the idea of all schools providing these real-work experiences for students. It can also be a great workforce development opportunity. 

Photo of Molly McMahon

It might also be cool to check out James Campbell's interview of Anya to compare her current experience with yours!