We’re Exposing Kids to Careers They Didn’t Know Existed

Feb 27, 2015
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

labAn initiative to provide students with exposure to the world of work and engineering is almost one year new at Qualcomm campus in San Diego. The company opened its doors to educators, parents, and students to get kids interested in engineering careers, and for students to understand what it takes to have a successful career in one of many exciting, in-demand and well-paying STEM fields.

The program, called Thinkabit Lab, has origins in Qualcomm’s career coaching practice designed to help employees align their strengths, interests and values to their careers. That program provided methodology to serve underserved youth and veterans, and has now been adapted to serve middle school youth and compliment the engineering focused curriculum in the lab.

Thinkabit is based in the heart of Qualcomm’s staffing department. Candidates for hire occasionally walk side by side with students as they arrive on campus. The juxtaposition provides unique conversations and interactions as recruiters, middle school students, college interns, and candidates interact in the same facility.

As staffing professionals, we provide a unique lens of the world of work to educators and workforce development professionals but too often are not part of the workforce development conversations or are only thought of for participation in career fairs. As educators work to equip students with the 21st century skills and exposure to the world of work, few are as prepared to have those conversations as recruiters.

This school year, 3,000 students are expected to visit the Thinkabit Lab, every Tuesday through Thursday of each week. Each class of 35 students spends a full day on site gaining valuable insights of careers they never knew existed. They explore their work values and interests, and make their own robotic creations using Arduino. Most importantly, they get a sense for what it’s like to work in a tech company, and for many, they see a new opportunity for themselves, something other than pro athlete or movie star.

I am proud to represent Qualcomm through this initiative and the opportunity to bring volunteerism to the workplace by engaging employees and community. Like many recruiters, I entered this profession to work with people to make a difference. Through this program, thousands will get a unique opportunity to explore the world of work and consider a meaningful career path.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.