The Future Career and College Fair is being held Sunday and features more than 70 colleges, universities, and career resources from across Iowa and across the U.S. Brittania Morey, spokeswoman for ICAN — the College Access Network for Iowa, is helping organize the online gathering.
“It’s a single event that can help a student explore all of their options,” Morey says. “We start with career assessments. We have business and industry exhibitors who can talk about what career options are available and what, as employers, they expect. And we have education and training exhibitors, registered apprenticeship programs, military academies, and colleges and universities to talk about all of their different programs.”
Last year, the event attracted about 2,000 students and their parents but by going virtual, Morey expects the draw to be much larger. “Normally, this would have taken place at the end of March in Cedar Rapids. We did push it back to the end of May, hoping that we could hold it in person,” Morey says. “It’s now switched to virtual and that really opens it up to any student in the state. We probably wouldn’t have had western Iowa students drive across the state to attend a physical fair in Cedar Rapids but now they have the opportunity to attend virtually.”
The online experience is designed to offer the same face-to-face connections as the in-person event, just through a screen from the comfort of home. Each exhibitor will have a virtual booth complete with webcam and audio features, so students and parents can chat with the representatives.
“It is a little harder to catch someone’s eye, so what we’ve done is create a scavenger hunt that we will provide to all of the registered students that will get them to explore booths that maybe they wouldn’t have initially thought to stop at,” Morey says. “The idea will be to get them to talk with a multitude of exhibitors and not just the ones they initially thought they might be interested in.” The free event will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
To attend, students need to register at www.icansucceed.org/icrfuture-student.