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Central Arizona Valley
Institute of Technology

CAVIT’s Career Exploration Event: CAVITCon

students working on a model

Career exploration is the specialty of Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT). With seventeen technical programs to choose from, students have access to countless career paths right at their fingertips, and with the wide variety of courses offered, a student may ask themself, "How do I know if the career I chose is right for me?" CAVITCon's purpose is to help answer that question.

CAVITCon is a monthly event that enhances the school's ability to show students different careers inside and outside their chosen program of study. Students receive a "road map" with a list of fifteen different careers along with the corresponding instructors' room numbers. Students choose two careers and are free to leave their classroom and attend the department workshops.

CAVITCon has become a favorite among students as they learn about careers and get to participate in hands-on activities. Health care instructor Tiffany Brown says the best part of the event for the students is the activity. She says, "Students should choose careers that align with something they are interested in." The hands-on activity is an excellent way for students to get a taste of their prospective careers. Ms. Brown says, "[Students] are engaged because we do the activity."

The way CAVIT presents career exploration is genuinely innovative, and the students cannot get enough of it. Student participation is key to the success of CAVITCon. So, how do the staff ensure the attention of their students? The answer is simple. Students are free to choose for themselves. Out of the fifteen activities provided during a CAVITCon event, there is bound to be at least one that grasps a student's attention.

CTE specialist William Snyder, who is a critical component in the creation of CAVITCon, says, "Instead of us creating something from the ground up, we listen to our kids." Then, it is up to the teachers to share their expertise and provide an activity. From there, students flock to their interests.

Mr. Snyder created a survey to gauge what the student population has to say about CAVITCon, and the success of CAVITCon among students shows through in the data. Mr. Snyder says, "Our survey found that more than 97% of the kids see the benefit of CAVITCon. They like it, enjoy it, and appreciate it!" That is an outstanding approval rating and solidifies the notion that the way CAVIT goes about career exploration is working.

The role teachers play during CAVITCon is vital. They create an environment that fosters the idea of welcomed change. The staff at CAVIT do not deny that teenagers' interests can, and do, shift. Each of the teachers desires that their students make informed decisions about their careers. Ms. Brown remarks, "We always want [students] to have a passion for the career they choose. They all have different talents, and if we play on that with them, it will be the best career ever."

Mr. Snyder commented that "CAVITCon either solidifies the choice of the program they already chose or opens up a conversion for us to have about other options." He went on to say, "Kids have switched class choices based on their CAVITCon experience." With supportive staff, students of CAVIT are free to broaden their horizons and listen to what speaks to them.

When it comes to prepping and planning for CAVITCon, the teachers have a common goal in mind: expose students to as many career options as they can. Sonny Hudson, the criminal justice instructor, says, "There are a ton of careers out there that students just don't know about." He continued, "I've focused on detectives. I have done SWAT. And today, we are doing corrections." It is apparent that even if a student is confident about their chosen program, they will eventually need to decide on their specialty, and CAVITCon exposes them to what the career world has to offer.

The positive effects of CAVITCon are undeniable, and the instructors have much to say about its influence on their school. Mr. Hudson says, "When [students] leave here from CAVIT, they have a strong foundation in the career they want and a widened knowledge of other careers out there."

Mr. Snyder notes, "The positive feedback we have received from the students is something that motivates me to keep it interesting for the kids. It motivates me that we are on the right track."

It is remarkable to see how appreciated CAVITCon is across campus. Various departments heartily agree that it is a beneficial experience for their students.

The introduction of CAVITCon has been a victory for both students and teachers alike. The integration of students and departments has brought the campus together in unity. In regard to this harmonization, Mr. Snyder says, "This campus-wide event has enhanced our school culture even more. We are a team." This fantastic event continues to enlighten individual students and unite the whole student body.

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