Source: University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Red River College, British Columbia – change to Career Trek Inc
Focus: 10-11 year old students with perceived barriers to entering post-secondary education.
Summary: Career Trek is a not-for-profit organization that provides innovative educational programming for young people with perceived barriers to entering post-secondary education. The program is designed to educate students (and their families) about the importance of staying in school, aspiring to a post-secondary education and career options.
Each September select schools and community groups nominate candidates for the Career Trek program. These groups have been previously selected by the program for their ability to provide young people who meet the program’s admission criteria. From the nominees, Career Trek then selects its participants. The number of young people chosen for the primary program is 240.
Program participants are nominated on the basis of simple criteria: first that the individual has, in the estimation of the sponsoring school or organization, the potential for going on and completing a post-secondary education, while recognizing that the young person in question is in danger of not doing so. The nominee may be at-risk of not pursuing a post-secondary education for any number of reasons, including such factors as socio-economic status, gender, disability, lifestyle, transiency, or attitude towards school. As well, nominated participants must be in a position to attend and make the time commitment required to complete the program. Finally, participants must show respect for all fellow participants and staff.
The Career Trek program runs for 20 Saturdays, October to April. Each group starts at one of the three participating institutions: the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Red River College where it remains for five Saturdays (one “term”). At the conclusion of 5 weeks, each group rotates to a new set of departments/faculties. In total, the participants receive 80 hours of direct programming. At each institution, participants spend 4 hours a day in hands-on programming. These 4 hours are divided equally between 4 select departments, programs or faculties. Participating departments, programs and faculties are chosen on the basis of their enthusiasm for the program and its client group, as well as their ability to provide an excellent curriculum. Activities are designed and modified to meet the needs of the individual age groups and lecturing is kept to a minimum. Classes are engaging, hands-on and innovative and are designed to increase participants’ awareness about a particular field, and its associated careers. All activities are structured to maximize those skills generally accepted to be vital to the changing workforce. Career Trek is a “homework-free” zone.
The cost to participants for enrolling in Career Trek is $20 per term (4 terms). Participants must pay their first $20 before entering the program. However, if a student remains in the program, the first term payment is “rolled over” and used to pay for the second term. This process is repeated for the third term and fourth terms. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are then provided with a yearbook of their experiences.