On Friday, Feb. 6, the Indiana University Northwest Occupational Development Program (ODP) will host more than 600 students from 13 area middle schools for a day-long program aimed at inspiring students to consider possible careers and the educational paths they must follow to pursue them. In today’s uncertain economy, advanced planning is more important than ever for students who hope to succeed, and the Youth Summit gives Northwest Indiana eighth-graders the tools and insight necessary to plan their high school careers around their future professional objectives.
“The idea is to get them in here before they fill out their schedules for high school,” said ODP Director T.J. Stoops. “We have them talk to area employers. They can fill out their 21st Century Scholars applications and get that process moving. And we have roundtable discussions to talk with them about what kind of careers they’re interested in and what they need to do in school to make that happen.”
This year’s participating schools include: River Forest, Highland, Tolleston, Grimmer, Chesterton, Emerson, Lake Ridge, Hanover Central, Pierce, Kahler, and Bailly Middle Schools, among others. Also, 17 students from the Wirt High School and East Chicago Central High School chapters of Indiana — Jobs for America (JAG) will attend, along with 42 school counselors, 15 local employers, 25 parent volunteers from 21st Century Scholars, and 30 program facilitators from IU Northwest and Indiana Workforce Development.
A total of 635 students have been registered for the event.
“This program has grown by leaps and bounds,” Stoops said of the Youth Summit, which is entering its sixth year at IU Northwest.
Co-sponsored by 21st Century Scholars, Indiana Workforce Development and Monster.com’s Making It Count program, Youth Summit will feature presentations by a number of educational and workforce professionals, in addition to constructive roundtable discussions in which students may talk about their own goals with other students. By day’s end, participants should have a better grasp of their career aspirations as well as an idea of what classes and subjects they will need in high school to achieve them. Also, Youth Summit allows students from different schools or backgrounds to interact in a positive educational setting, an experience that should lead to new friendships and a better appreciation for the world beyond the classroom.
The sixth annual Youth Summit at IU Northwest on Feb. 6 begins at 8 a.m. in the Savannah Center and runs until 2 p.m., and lunch will be provided for participating students. For more information, contact T.J. Stoops at (219) 980-6832, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.