Middle school students in Livingston explore their career interests and gain new skills through community-led workshops
A series of workshops is helping middle school students in Livingston prepare for careers and develop new skills.
At a recent workshop held at Dan Bailey’s fly shop, retail manager Rob Lahren explained advertising concepts to a group of 8th graders from Sleeping Giant Middle School.
“And I want you to think about who you’re targeting here," Lahren tells the kids. "Are we targeting a family that wants to come fly fishing? Are we targeting people that want to come ski fresh powder up here at Bridger Bowl?”
The workshop included a demonstration on how to wax skis and a history lesson on how the fly shop morphed into an outdoor company. It’s part of an initiative put on by the nonprofit Community School Collaborative in partnership with the school.
This event is part of a business careers track. Last week, 8th graders fanned out across Livingston and Bozeman to attend events in five different career areas including STEM, law and public safety, the arts, and food and natural resources.
The CSC program has been around for the past several years. This year, the Montana Office of Public Instruction awarded Advanced Opportunity grant funding to Livington Public Schools; some of the funding will support the workshops.
Livingston Superintendent Lynne Scalia says middle school is an opportune time for students to start to explore potential careers and discover what they’re good at.
“It’s a really special time as they leave elementary school. They’re expanding their view of the world beyond their family," she said. "We know that if kids are exposed to their community and work, and where do they fit, and what are they interested in, that we help to launch them on their way."
8th grader Cadi Perkins says she wants to own her own business someday. Spending time with Dan Bailey’s employees and hearing them talk about the passion they bring to their work, she says, helped her realize what it takes.
“Owning a small business, you open a business that you want to do, something that you’re really interested in, and that is just really important," she said. "Just doing something that you want to do, doing something you feel happy doing."
As students interact with potential employers and local talent, CSC President Yvonne Brutger says the program will be a success if students come away from the experience feeling more connected to their community.
“I think part of it is that they know the community cares about them, that they feel hopeful that there is a possibility of a good future, of a career that they could pursue,” she said.
Brutger estimates that around 75 community members have volunteered in the CSC program so far this fall to help put on workshops for 6-8th graders who attend Sleeping Giant Middle School.