Photo: SecretPenguin kicked off Careerockit by hosing 40 eighth-graders in a brand-creation and identity workshop at their downtown Omaha office.

Nebraska and Iowa’s largest, weeklong business/student collaborative learning initiative is once-again highlighting the ‘career’ in Careerockit, creating nearly 20,000 unique student experiences for more than 20 school districts, multiple universities and nearly 140 organizations in six counties February 11-17.

“We want to provide opportunities for our students who aren’t going the four-year college route and show them that a lot of the trades are in dire need of people to fill jobs,” says Joe Vinchattle, Lewis Central’s assistant principal. “We want to build those relationships now, young and early, so we can help to increase the workforce around the Omaha metro area.”

Careerockit, a no-cost program of the Greater Omaha Chamber, supporting sponsors and community partners at five regional chambers of commerce, pairs elementary through secondary students seeking engagement and information with regional businesses and nonprofits. The goal: to create career interest, grow the area’s talent pipeline and connect organizations with future employees. It is the largest endeavor of its kind in the Midwest.

Experiences in Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Pottawattamie and Washington counties are custom-tailored to meet students’ needs, and are available in a variety of industries, spotlighting a host of careers.

For Careerockit 2019, returning sponsor MUD gave visiting students an assignment at the District’s Platte South Water Treatment Plant – with the goal of, perhaps, giving them a job someday.

Two groups toured the plant during Careerockit week: a Boys and Girls Club contingent from Morton Middle School on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and students from Bryan High School’s urban agriculture career academy on Thursday, Feb. 14. The groups heard from human resources about different career opportunities with MUD and then broke into teams for some hands-on interaction. Team members had to work together to a create a water filtration system using everyday items – from coffee filters to pebbles and kitty litter.

“They designed it, built it and talked about how they decided on materials,” says MUD’s Cindy Bacon. “We had them pour the dirty water and whoever came out with the clearest water won.”

Now in its third year, Careerockit, which has hosted more than 37,000 student experiences to date, has seen widespread program adoption by learners and businesses.

According to a 2013 McKinsey & Co. poll, 50 percent of college students would opt for an alternative career – or university – given the opportunity to repeat their education, lending support to the assertion that early career exposure increases the potential for degree, and workforce, success.

“Careerockit facilitates a purposeful approach to early career education,” said Dee Baird, Ph.D., senior vice president, Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership. “We’re proud of the many students, organizations and collaborative partners who, together, make Careerockit a continued success.”

Supporting Sponsors
Lozier, Metropolitan Utilities District

Community Partners
Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Gretna Area Chamber of Commerce, Plattsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce