JA Inspire models career awareness to 9,000 eighth-grade students

February 22, 2019

Approximately 9,000 CFISD eighth-grade students attended the three-day job awareness fair, JA Inspire, held Feb. 4-6 at the Berry Center.
Approximately 9,000 CFISD eighth-grade students attended the three-day job awareness fair, JA Inspire, held Feb. 4-6 at the Berry Center.

Feb. 22, 2019—Approximately 9,000 eighth-grade students from 18 CFISD middle schools and the Carpenter Center connected to potential careers and opportunities in Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas (JASET)’s sixth annual job awareness fair, JA Inspire, Feb. 4-6.

Held at the Berry Center, the three-day event allows all CFISD eighth-grade students the opportunity to interact with more than 50 Houston-area businesses in a variety of industries. Six middle schools attended JA Inspire each day.

Career stations were on the concourse, giving students the opportunity to speak with company employees during JA Inspire. Students also experienced hands-on products, such as a virtual reality simulator, to show what the career entails.
Career stations were on the concourse, giving students the opportunity to speak with company employees during JA Inspire. Students also experienced hands-on products, such as a virtual reality simulator, to show what the career entails.

The days began with a morning welcome session for all students in the Berry Center arena. Welcome speakers included Chevron Phillips representatives Jim Telljohann and Peggy Colsman.

Students were then broken down into groups for the day. They were divided into three groups that rotated between industry presentations in the conference center, a soft-skills demonstration in the arena and exhibitors on the second-floor concourse.

Students were also divided up by the four endorsement tracks (STEM, business and industry, public services and arts and humanities) that they selected beforehand to receive a more specialized experience.

Former U.S. Olympian gymnast Jonathan Horton, a 2004 Cy-Fair High School graduate, spoke with eighth-grade students to end the second day of the three-day JA Inspire, held Feb. 4-6 at the Berry Center. Horton was among three CFISD alumni to serve as speakers to end each day.
Former U.S. Olympian gymnast Jonathan Horton, a 2004 Cy-Fair High School graduate, spoke with eighth-grade students to end the second day of the three-day JA Inspire, held Feb. 4-6 at the Berry Center. Horton was among three CFISD alumni to serve as speakers to end each day.

Career stations were on the concourse, with students given the opportunity to speak with company employees and industry representatives to learn more about their businesses.

“It was a little overwhelming but I learned a lot,” said Watkins Middle School student Logan Roberts. “I didn’t really know what soft skills were, but it’s good know how little things like being polite can help when looking for a job.”

Featured CFISD alumni in different career fields served as speakers to close each day. They included former U.S. Olympian gymnast Jonathan Horton, a 2004 Cy-Fair High School graduate, and Lily Jang, a residential realtor and former broadcast journalist who graduated from Langham Creek High School.

Watkins Middle School eighth-grade student Sarah Olufemi learns how to write check from Iberia Bank representatives, which was among the business and industry representatives at career stations during JA Inspire
Watkins Middle School eighth-grade student Sarah Olufemi learns how to write check from Iberia Bank representatives, which was among the business and industry representatives at career stations during JA Inspire

“The opportunity our eighth-grade students have to actually visit with employers from the greater Houston area and learn about the types of jobs available with their companies is priceless,” said Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability. “JA provides our students with an awareness of careers and jobs they didn’t know existed. Our students learn about courses they should focus on and important soft skills they need to develop to pursue careers that are of interest to them.”

Approximately 9,000 CFISD eighth-grade students attended the three-day job awareness fair, JA Inspire, which featured industry presentations, a soft-skills demonstration and exhibitors in the second-floor concourse.
Approximately 9,000 CFISD eighth-grade students attended the three-day job awareness fair, JA Inspire, which featured industry presentations, a soft-skills demonstration and exhibitors in the second-floor concourse.

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