The Career Access Team in Highline dedicates itself to providing high school students equitable access to high-level career connected learning opportunities so they can make informed decisions and graduate empowered and prepared to choose their futures.
We believe students succeed academically when they can see the relevancy of their coursework through engaging, meaningful career activities and can apply it to their future career interests. We ensure students gain exposure to a wide range of strong wage, high demand career fields that require some level of postsecondary educational training, whether it is Technical, 2-Year or 4-year college and beyond (T-2-4), as it reveals the numerous pathways available to them.
The Career Access Team collaborates with hundreds of career partners, district staff, College and Career Access Specialists, staff members in schools, and community organizations to develop robust, real-world career connected learning opportunities. Experiences include Career Exploration Tours, internships, career fairs, guest speakers, job shadows and informational interviews, as well as specialized financial literacy, women in STEM and networking events.
Over the past three years, more than 5,000 students in Highline have engaged in Career Exploration Tours at more than 80 different business sites. Of the students surveyed, 95% said these experiences were valuable.
What is a Career Exploration Tour?
Career Exploration Tours are site visits where business leaders offer a company tour, a hands-on activity, and presentations from a diverse group of staff who represent a variety of different roles requiring college degrees including technical, 2-year, 4-year & beyond. Students often don’t know what their options are so seeing opportunities in a real-world setting helps them develop enthusiasm as well as a sense of possibility that connects the relevance of high school to their futures.
- Career Tours can range in length but are generally 3 hours including a 30-minute lunch break.
- Logistically, it works best for our high schools to take groups of 30 students to different sites on the same day. If you can only accommodate 15 to 20 students, please let us know – we will make it work!
- We provide: sack lunches, transportation, pre-trip preparation, chaperones and follow-up. We are also happy to help you develop an agenda.
- Partners often provide lunch and even transportation reimbursement. We are grateful for this support and would be happy to share more information.
Sample Agenda (Highline Medical Center)
9:30 AM – Opening, welcome & introductions
9:45 AM – Hospital tour (15 students) + Cancer Center tour (15 students). 20 min. each then switch
10:30 AM – Lunch
11:00 AM – Pathology: Physician will show slides of cells of different diseases. Students will be able to touch and examine organs, identify fractures on x-rays and ask questions
12:00 PM – Five, 10-min. job vignettes: Medical Assistants, Registered Nurse, Social Work, Radiology Technician, and BioMed 12:50 PM – Debrief and Q&A Session
1:00 PM – Adjourn. Load bus, distribute and fill out surveys, travel back to high school
How Can I Host a Career Exploration Tour?
Please contact Michelle Thomassian, Career Access Manager, at 206-631-3186, or at Michelle.Thomassian@highlineschools.org.
Internships & High-Level Learning
Students eventually get their first entry-level jobs where they learn important skills such as customer service and time management, which they add to their resumes. Internships are also meaningful and often life-changing learning experiences as they embody career exploration and focus on strong wage, high demand career pathways. Employers might consider these opportunities volunteer experiences or jobs, but if the roles meet our learning objectives and criteria, we internally refer to them as Internships.
Highline Public Schools (HPS) Internship Criteria:
- Must be 20 hours total (or more) and occur after school, and up to full time in summer.
- Internships must have at least 2 career-related learning objectives
- Paid positions and stipends draw more candidates as many students must accept a job over an internship out of necessity. Unpaid positions can still be an option.
- Internships are publicized via our website at www.highlineschools.org/career
Are High School Students Ready for Internships?
Absolutely! Students are eager to network and gain career knowledge that prepares them for life after high school. Internships help students see the relevancy of their coursework and become familiar with a variety of career & college pathways. (Technical, 2-yr, or 4-yr & Beyond). Internships also give students the chance to show their brilliance and prepare for bright futures.
Who Offers High School Internships?
We partner with Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Port of Seattle, Microsoft, The Boeing Company, Urban Artworks, Team Read, Alaska Airlines, City of Burien, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, KUOW, King County Department of Natural Resources, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Ogden Murphy Wallace Law Firm, and many more to provide internship opportunities. In the past three years, more than 1,350 Highline students have had internships.
“My internship makes me feel like I’m ahead. It’s pushing me to do more. It makes me want to do better.” - Anita C., Highline High School
How Can I Host an Intern?
Consider the following then contact Michelle Thomassian, Career Access Manager, at 206-631-3186, or at Michelle.Thomassian@highlineschools.org.
- Name & location of your business /company/organization plus supervisor name and contact information
- Internship title (E.g. Program Assistant, Technology Specialist, Cancer Center Volunteer)
- Hours per week, start & end dates, paid or unpaid
- Position description that incl. learning objectives, outcomes and how student will be evaluated
- Qualifications: age/grade level/U.S. citizenship requirements & other desired or preferred skills
- Application process: How you’d like students to apply, letter of interest, resume, teacher or school staff referral, electronic/hard copy application and application deadline
- Selection: We can help by sending strong candidates, or, you can choose to receive all applications
Here are Quick Tips to help you prepare for a job shadow or informational interview with students.
Job shadows & informational interviews give Highline students a chance to learn from professionals and get an in-depth perspective on their careers.
Highline Public Schools wants all students to graduate high school prepared to choose a career path they will enjoy, where there is high demand and high wages. We recognize some level of post-secondary education will be required and that there are many paths. Try to share about your career as well as related careers with a range of educational options such as certificates, apprenticeships, 2-year, 4-year degrees and beyond.
Students enjoy hearing your personal stories about how you arrived where you are today. Did you have obstacles to overcome? Change your mind a few times? Have some failures along the way and some highlights, too? Who helped you? What do you enjoy about your job, and what do you find least fulfilling? Any advice?
Students love to be actively engaged as part of their interview/shadow. Depending on the amount of time you have, you could take the student on a tour of your workplace, introduce him/her to colleagues, offer a mini “challenge”, demonstrate equipment, show a short video about your company and any other activities you can offer in addition to the conversation.
We’ve heard that employers think “soft skills” such as reliability, strong communication skills, work ethic, and professionalism, are often as important as specific skills that can be learned on the job. While avoiding lecturing, it would be great to talk about how important these skills are, perhaps through real-life examples.
Encourage students to ask you questions; hopefully they’ve come prepared with some. If not, gently urge them to do so when networking in the future. Give feedback in a supportive way about the student’s handshake, eye contact, punctuality, appropriateness of dress, quality of questions, and anything else that will be helpful.
If it feels right and you have the time, invite the student to keep you informed of their progress, refer them to a colleague for additional interviews, and/or direct them to a book or resource you found helpful.
Please make sure the student knows where to meet you and is aware of professional requirements such as client confidentiality, dresscode, sign-in procedures, badging, building access, etc. Many students will not have had an experience at a work site, so please be aware that they will not know what to expect.
Any additional feedback can be directed to the student’s Career and College Access Specialist, teacher or other adult who referred them. Our goal is for this experience to be motivational and helpful.
You may not ever know how much it meant to the student, but we certainly do. Thank you for sharing your time and experience. We appreciate you!