‘Career Cowboy’ targeting career education in HISD elementary schools

Think back to when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up: a doctor, lawyer, or fighter pilot?

Now, elementary-age students can interact with hands-on exhibits and activities that can map out a career path in numerous professions.

HISD’s Career and Technical Education department has developed a free, mobile learning program designed to teach students about professional careers and the types that are available in the Houston area. Students could soon see the Ready Wagon bus pull up to their campus and have the chance to meet the “Career Cowboy”.

“This program is invaluable in making students aware of the connections between their education, their careers and their personal lives,” said Jacob Breier in the district’s College and Career Readiness department. “Our high quality, hands-on career activity stations captivate the students, so that when they realize that these careers are extensions of their education… they transfer that productive and enthusiastic energy into their everyday learning.”

Since the beginning of the program earlier this year, Breier says the programs have reached more than 1,600 students from five elementary schools, as well as appearances at several career days and other events.

Breier, who doubles as the Career Cowboy, said he mixes up his costumes during his meetings with students and tailors the program for students’ ages. He even sings songs about energy, machines, medicine, and other career topics.

“We also provide a diversity of career focuses so that every student will find something that engages them, (we) gauge where each student’s interests lie and leave them with an idea of how to pursue these interests through middle school and high school (career and technical education) programs,” he said.

Feedback on the events has been positive, said Breier, citing teacher comments about more engaged students and repeat performance requests. He said the department is still raising money to completely shrink-wrap the bus with customized art and logos.

Teachers who are interested in having the Ready Wagon and the Career Cowboy visit their campus are asked to contact Jacob Breier at jbreier@houstonisd.org.