Career Opportunity Program
The Career Opportunity Program (COP) is a parent-sponsored program that services junior and seniors students. Its purpose is two-fold:
- To assist students in exploring career opportunities.
- To expose students to men and women in career fields in which students have expressed interest.
The program is staffed by parent volunteers who interview students and assess their career interests and needs. Arrangements are then made for students to have a COP appointment, usually off-campus, in which the student meets with a resource representative of a career in which the student has interest. During the appointment, students learn more about the particular career such as education required, future job outlook, wage and salary levels, benefits, working conditions and other factors pertaining to that career. Groups ranging from one student to a small group of them spend time seeing future occupations firsthand and asking questions to narrow down their desires for the future. This on-the-job exposure appointment generally takes from one hour to one full day.
The total number of COP appointments that students have varies but is usually one or two each of the junior and senior years. We have sent students to a wide variety of establishments. From design and marketing companies, to corporate businesses, to legal offices, to medical practices, to technical stations, Illiana’s students have gained valuable experience and exposure. Illiana’s Career Opportunity Program is rated very highly by students and parents alike. The impact of this program reaches far beyond Illiana’s doors.
Below are students’ descriptions of their COP experiences:
- “I went on a COP appointment to the FBI building downtown, and it really helped me figure out what I am interested in. At the time, I was interested in forensic science, and I realized that wasn’t as much where I wanted to go. It was still a really great opportunity to figure that out and learn about the different fields associated with the FBI….I think the COP program both helps students figure out what they want to do and what they might not want to do. It’s a really good opportunity, before you go off to college, to get some experience in the fields you’re interested in and see if it is something you want to do for the rest of your life.”
- “I went on a COP appointment to see a Human Resources department of a company, but I am more interested in business. It was really cool to look into the way it all works. I think the COP program is great to see what’s out there. Without this I would have no clue what is offered for me. It brings you into the real world.”
- “My COP appointments led to my decision to become a speech pathologist. My first appointment was for nursing. While it was very informative, I was able to tell that I am not cut out to be a nurse. When I went on two more COP appointments for speech pathology, I knew it was the right fit for me. I really benefited from this program. Without these appointments I would not have the same clarity of what path I want to take with my life.”
- “I think that COP appointments are a great way for Illiana students to figure out what they may be interested in for the future. I went on two appointments during my senior year. The first one I realized that I really didn’t like and the second one I realized I did really like. Even if you go on a COP appointment and hate it, it’s still helpful because now you know that that’s something you don’t really like. Overall, the COP program has helped many students, myself included, have a better understanding of what they want to follow as a career.”
For more information, Amy Gibson can be reached at 219-558-7066 x20 or firstname.lastname@example.org.