‘When I Grow Up’ career expo draws crowd of thousands

Despite an overcast sky and the threat of rain, an estimated 5,107 students, parents, and community members attended the third annual “When I Grow Up” career expo on April 11. Students of all ages talked with representatives from nearly 100 local companies and employers. Click here to see a list of participants.

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“We are very pleased with the growth of this event,” said HISD Career and Technical Education Manager Dana Sturdevant. “Each year the career expo is bigger and better – more students attend, and our partner companies provide more engaging hands-on experiences.” 

Students interacted with cutting-edge tools and equipment from represented industries, including welders, drilling equipment, robots, and various simulators. Other displays that garnered student interest were an HISD police truck and drug dog, Houston Police Department SWAT tank, Houston Fire Department truck, “BAT” (breath alcohol testing) van, METRO vehicles, and Kroger and Walmart shipping containers. In addition to the exploratory experiences, industry experts provided relevant information about high-demand, high-wage careers.

“I noticed a big difference in the students this year,” said one exhibitor. “Many of them know exactly what they want to be when they grow up (a lot of engineers), and many know the basics of drilling for oil. HISD seems to be headed in the right direction as far as teaching students about the ‘real world’ and including STEM in their curriculum.”

Students teamed up for competitions such as “Build a Better Park Bench” (sponsored by Home Depot) or creating a Rube Goldberg-type machine. Students also styled hair for a “career ready” look in the “Battle of the Blow Dryers” competition sponsored by Sport Clips, and teams plated full entrées with ingredients from the “Mystery Basket” provided by Luby’s. Film production student teams even shot video, which they will edit and enter in the “Make a Movie” contest.

Entertainment was provided by Davis High School’s mariachi band, Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy’s jazz band, M.C. Williams Middle School’s orchestra, Fonville Middle School’s band, Elmore Elementary’s drum line, and Cage Elementary’s band.

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One thought on “‘When I Grow Up’ career expo draws crowd of thousands

  1. MarkSkalla

    This sounds like an awesome event! I’m always glad to see younger people getting the opportunity to think about what they actually want to do with their career.

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