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Heather Neal

Fast Forward

By Heather NealPosted August 14, 2013 1:40pm (EDT)
Fast Forward

In 2012, Georgia's high school graduation rate was less than 70%. We’ve been working hard to improve that statistic by partnering with United Way, the Afterschool Council, and other community partners for improved awareness and intervention for Georgia parents and students.

My favorite way that we’re reaching out to students is with our STEM (Science Technology Education and Math) career education program Fast Forward. It’s styled so that it’s interesting and educational for middle and high school students. Yes, we figured out a way to do that! Teachers are using it in classrooms to demonstrate “teachable moments,” such as the Physics involved in working at North Georgia Canopy Tours, as well as demonstrating the wide variety of careers available all over our state.

We’re not talking about “desk jobs” in that boring way that kids think grown-ups spend their time. We’re showing students people in entry level and advanced positions, many of whom are near their own age, who are passionate about the career paths they’ve chosen. Those careers span the range from sea turtle veterinary tech. to medical research and park ranger and so much more.

Now in its second season, Fast Forward has been so important in demonstrating careers that we’ve gone back and created episodes for young learners, too. Launchpad is new this year and is made with 3rd-6th graders in mind. The introduction of Career Pathways in schools across Georgia makes the work we do here even more important.

As a parent, I want my son to know that he can be anything he wants when he grows up. So, it makes me feel proud to know that I played a part in his education about the hundreds of jobs he can choose from one day. Beyond that, I have a great hope that because of programs like Fast Forward, he’ll see that what he learns in school does matter and that yes, you will be using this stuff as an adult.

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