Thank you for your interest in the Rotary Student Program, a career mentoring initiative, supported by Rotary Clubs throughout the world.
The Rotary Student Program
Piloted in 2007, the Rotary Student Program was fully launched in 2008 to help guide junior and senior high school students in the earliest stage of the career selection process—before high school graduation.
The idea for the program started with the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, which was hosting students for lunch meetings.
Learning of student interest in making connections with career mentors, the club saw the opportunity to take the program further and began connecting young people with established business professionals that were living the students’ dream careers. The program quickly gained support with participation from five school districts.
Through further research, it was discovered that the career mentor void was not just in North America, but was global in scale. It was found that on a worldwide level, young people were not making career connections with professionals that could help verify career directions or explore redirections to more suitable paths, before college or vocational training. After gaining the attention of Rotary District 6360 leadership in Michigan and Rotary national vocational services leadership, the program was presented to the President of Rotary International, Kalyan Banerjee, at Rotary International headquarters on February 2, 2012.
After the meeting with President Banerjee, a second meeting at Rotary International spawned interest by Rotary vocational service global leaders, triggering an interest in piloting the program, starting with Japan, India, and Argentina. By 2012, it was decided by Rotary International that the Rotary Student Program had merit and would be promoted internationally. Leveraging the 200-country, 1.2-million member Rotary network, career connection options were considered viable and endless as a means of Rotarians serving young people. The mentoring program was given heightened global attention on June 23, 2013, when Rotarians worldwide were trained on the attributes of the Rotary Student Program at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal by Rotary Student Program Chair, Jackie Huie.
How It Works
Through the Rotary Student Program, select young people are invited to explore career interests, with behind-the-scenes visits to area businesses. Meeting one-on-one with business professionals, participating students gain rare access to every level—from CEOs of global corporations to small business owners. In reverse interviews, students are given the opportunity to learn more about particular areas of interest, what it takes to land the dream job, and even verify opposing career interests.
Through Rotarians, students explore dreams from every possible direction—from becoming an NFL football player to becoming a global peace leader, from becoming a medical professional to going into the entertainment business, from working as a public servant in politics to starting a private family business. With the Rotary Student Program, the opportunities and possibilities are endless.
6 Steps of the Rotary Student Program:
Promotion: Participating Rotary Clubs place program posters inviting interested students to write essays to participate in the program.
Application: Students submit essays to the designated school administrator, who turns essays over to Rotary.
Selection: Rotary Clubs select 5–10 student essays per school, notifying students of their selection.
Alignment: Business professionals living a student’s “dream career” are aligned with Rotarians and students.
First Meeting: Students attend their first Rotary meeting and accompany Rotarians to reverse interview meetings with business professionals. In these meetings, students are encouraged to ask probing questions about career pathing and college classes.
Second Meeting: Students attend their second Rotary meeting and provide a two-minute presentation on their experience. Parents and business professionals are invited to attend.
How to Get Started
Getting started is easy for participating businesses, Rotarians, schools, students, and parents:
- If you are interested in participating, please contact your local Rotary Club
- If you are interested in your child’s participation, reach out to your child’s High School and/or local Rotary Club
- Accept request from Rotary Club to meet, or request a meeting
- Designate High School Administrator to hand out and accept essays
- Turn essays over to Rotarian contact on agreed-upon date
- Discuss program with your parents
- Pick up essay form from High School office, returning essay by due date
- Expect to be contacted by your local Rotary Club within two weeks from essay due date. If you are not contacted within that time period, please ask your High School Administrator for the email of a Rotary contact so you can follow up to confirm the status of your essay