NYC sophomores learn about do’s and don’ts of the working world during Career Discovery Week

Schools Chancellor Carranza address sophomore students gathered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during Career Discovery Week on Feb. 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Education)

This week, thousands of high school sophomores will visit film studios, airline command rooms, corporate headquarters, and retail showrooms as a part of the Department of Education’s first-ever Career Discovery Week.

The initiative, organized in partnership with the Partnership for New York City, is meant to expose young people to career paths they might not have considered before. About 6,000 students from 140 schools across the city will take part in the visits and Q and A’s with high-powered executives. 

“New York City employers are about to discover the untapped pipeline of talent in our high schools,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on the 10th floor of Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard where students toured today. Other sites where students have visited or will visit this week include the ABM Industries, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Deutsche Bank’s corporate headquarters and The Shubert Organization. “This first-ever, week-long opportunity gives students the chance to learn from professionals across a variety of industries and gets them ready to fill the talent needs of the companies that make our city thrive.” 

After Carranza’s short opening words, students listened to President and CEO of Brooklyn Navy Yard David Ehrenberg, Chief Executive Officer of New Lab Shaun Stewart, C0-founder and CEO of Lafayette 148 New York Deirdre Quinn, Principal of the STEAM Center Kayon Pryce and Chairman of Steiner Studios Douglas Steiner and CEO of Boston Properties Owen Thomas talk about their paths into their respective industries. During their talks, they passed on some working-world lessons that students can’t get in the classroom and apply to every career. Here are few of those universal truths:

You have to fail in order to succeed 

When Quinn first got her first break in the fashion world, Lafayette 148 is a woman’s fashion brand, a boss told her that it was O.K to make mistakes. “Risk is something that you have to take,” said Quinn.”You have to be ready to fail and make mistakes in order to learn.” What is important Quinn added, is that an employee not make the same mistake twice.  

Make the most out of an internship

An internship is a good way to get a foot in the door at any company. But there are plenty of young people that take part in internships and discover that the field they are working in just isn’t for them. “And that’s OK,” said Pryce. However, even if the internship is uninteresting an intern still needs to act professionally. “You need to think about what would an adult do in this situation?” Also, regardless of feelings, an internship should be proactive and not wait around to be told what to do. Memorable interns, who receive job offers or good letters or recommendations, take initiative and ask to be made useful. 

Be reliable 

“When you do get that first job and that first opportunity, being that one person the boss knows that they can rely on all the time and is dependable and will deliver when they say they will,” said Stewart.”That leads to great things in the early stages of your career.” People notice when someone is responsible and makes the effort to follow through on promises. 

Do not let anybody stop you from pursuing your passion

People love to say no. But people shouldn’t let the hundreds of no’s they will hear when they apply for a job, pitch an idea or ask for a raise shouldn’t stop them from trying to get that final yes. “You just keep at it,” said Steiner who noted that in the film world all everybody hears at first is no to any request.”The more no’s you get the closer you are to success.”

Be kind

Even before students leave school, they are building a reputation that will follow them into the working world. Someone that was a classmate might one day become a co-worker or boss. Treat everyone with respect because you could be working with them for years, said Quinn. 

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