Career exploration field trips immerse CCA students in exciting workplaces

Events offer students behind-the-scenes looks at an array of career fields.

Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be part of a helicopter trauma unit flying to the scene of an emergency? Have you ever wanted to be behind the scenes of a TV broadcast or wonder how reporters get their stories? What about getting to see firsthand what it's like to watch a doctor perform open-heart surgery?

A new initiative from CCA removes those big questions and provides students with a glimpse into the real-world experiences of professionals in a variety of careers. For the 2017-18 school year, CCA is offering Career Exploration events – a new collection of field trips that provide intensive, hands-on field trips for middle and high school students.

The events will offer behind-the-scenes looks at an array of careers. Each trip can spark a latent passion or open young eyes to the reality that a certain job is not for them.

“We want to tap into what our learners are passionate about and give them opportunities to evaluate if a career choice is right for them,” said Jill Fraser, family involvement manager at CCA.

CCA middle and high school students will have the opportunity to go on more than 60 career exploration field trips throughout Pennsylvania, each carefully crafted to provide in-depth looks into a myriad career paths. Some of the career fields students will have an opportunity to observe include:

Health care

When people think of careers in medicine, they think of nurses or doctors. They might not think of phlebotomists, sports trainers, cardiovascular perfusionists, operating room technicians or countless other specialties. One field trip will immerse students in a helicopter trauma unit. Another offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe open-heart surgery.

Animal care

Pets are family, and treating them like family means taking care of their health. The booming veterinary sciences offer limitless opportunities in every specialty imaginable. Even marketing, financial and fundraising professionals are vital to animal welfare.

Field trips expose students to the array of possibilities through behind-the-scenes tours at the state-of-the-art Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center, the Erie Zoo and the Lehigh County Humane Society’s Animal Care and Veterinary Services Department.

Media and entertainment

What is it like to handle TV cameras and editing equipment and to conduct person-on-the-street interviews? Students who visit the radio and TV studios of WHYY Philadelphia will find out. Backstage trips with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders baseball team will open eyes to the myriad roles needed to produce a sporting event, from team managers and athletic directors to sports agents and PR professionals.

Protective services

Police and military professionals work hard to ensure public safety. On a visit to a Pennsylvania State Police barracks, students will learn about crime scene investigation, canine units and the boot camp workouts needed for physical fitness. Another tour puts a STEM spin on the field, giving students a close-up look at the science behind the development and manufacturing of protective gear.

CCA’s Guidance Department can help students interested in a particular career craft a pathway of academic courses that positions them for success in education and training after graduation.

Exciting new career technical courses include medical terminology, leadership and supervision in business, and accounting. Career planning and college planning courses get students thinking about the future. Students can do job shadowing for a taste of real-life experiences in the fields they love.

Other career fields that will be available to students include careers in the following fields:

• Arts and design


• Sports

• Cosmetology

• Maintenance, installation, repair and construction

• Food preparation and serving

Climb aboard

Students in every region will have opportunities to go on these field trips every month — and most are free or a minimal cost. Students can attend any Career Exploration event offered anywhere in the state.

For details, including dates and times, check CCA’s message boards under the "Career Exploration" title.

The CCA staff hopes that families take advantage of the exciting programs arranged in collaboration with every venue. Officials and staff at business, medical and cultural institutions statewide are gladly opening their doors to CCA students, Fraser said.

“They’re enthusiastic because students are interested in what they do day in and day out, and they have the opportunity to give back,” she said. “They want young people to learn about their careers. We’re putting students right in the arena and asking if this is something they could see themselves doing — and loving — day in and day out.’’


Commonwealth Charter Academy


December 27, 2017


Learning Lab

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