WakeEd Partnership Announces New Career Pathways Program for Wake County Middle School Students

RALEIGH, N.C. — WakeEd Partnership (WakeEd), a business-backed nonprofit organization committed to supporting teachers and students in Wake County, today announced the expansion of its “Accelerate” initiative with a new program for middle school students called Career Exploration. WakeEd’s Accelerate initiative partners area businesses with teachers and students to bring authentic, real-world learning experiences to Wake County classrooms and connect students with employers to explore career pathways.

Career Exploration will provide middle school students in 7th grade with short burst immersive experiences on-site at area businesses to explore career opportunities in a multitude of career fields. This program includes a short immersion with a company, a post-immersion Q&A with company employees, and career guidance from a school Career Development Coordinator. The new Career Exploration program is being delivered in partnership with the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS).

The program will start this month as a pilot at five Wake County middle schools:

  • Dillard Drive Middle School (Raleigh)
  • Fuquay Varina Middle School (Fuquay Varina)
  • Salem Middle School (Apex)
  • Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy (Raleigh)
  • Zebulon Middle School (Zebulon)

“Our students are fortunate to live in such a thriving area when it comes to new jobs and opportunities. And we have seen first-hand through the other programs in our portfolio that students are craving opportunities that will allow them to directly engage with local business leaders,” said Douglas Price, Director of Programs, WakeEd Partnership. 

“Likewise, we have heard from the business community their own desires to begin reaching out and connecting with students at a younger age; to help them see the careers and opportunities they offer. We continue to see the impact that this work has on both students and on the business community, helping to align standards in the classroom standards and coursework, with career pathways and opportunities.”

“I want all the new jobs coming here to Wake County to ultimately be filled by Wake County Public School graduates,” said Keith Poston, President, WakeEd Partnership. “That’s why we’ve brought together our new and existing workforce-focused educational initiatives to help Wake County students become more future-ready for any and all career and college opportunities.”

In addition to the new Career Exploration program, WakeEd Partnership’s Accelerate includes:

Career Accelerator: Launched in Summer 2022, Career Accelerator is a workforce development program created to provide high school students in 10th through 12th grade with immersive experiences with local companies exploring targeted career fields. This program will be hosted throughout high schools across Wake County Public Schools during the summer 2023. In addition to immersion experiences, students will receive coaching and instruction in other workforce development areas, such as CV building, social media use, and interviewing skills, as well as achieving micro-credentials for career-specific opportunities.

SummerSTEM: SummerSTEM is a program that enriches educators’ understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the workplace using Project-Based Learning (PBL) with an emphasis on STEM businesses and careers. Teachers engage in a week-long professional development, which incorporates business immersions and company engagement opportunities, then creating a curriculum unit throughout the school-year allowing students to engage in career-ready learning, and ending with the capstone community share-out event at STEMposium.

Career Conversations: Career Conversations connects employers and students digitally through a growing online library of video interviews with professionals from a variety of jobs. Together, we are providing additional opportunities for middle and high school students to connect with diverse industries and employers, great leaders, and even potential mentors.

For more information about Accelerate including how your business can get engaged, visit our web site at: https://www.wakeed.org/programs/ or contact Douglas Price, Director of Programs, at dprice@wakeed.org.

About WakeEd Partnership 
WakeEd Partnership is an independent, nonprofit organization composed of business and community leaders committed to improving public education. Since 1983, the Partnership has advocated for excellent educational opportunities for all students in the Wake County Public School System. For more information, please visit www.wakeed.org.

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