On a global scale, young people lack access to business professionals living their dream career. No matter the country, ethnicity or financial status, the void is the same and students are entering college or the work force, aiming for a career that may or may not be a good fit with their personality or their vision.
Piloted in 2007 by Rotarians, the Rotary Student Program was designed to help young people connect with business professionals living the dream career. By exploring the possibilities in the earliest stages of the career development and selection process, 15-18 year olds confirm or defer from their dreams.
In reverse interview settings, participants gain rare access to professionals - from CEOs of global corporations to small-business owners and start up entrepreneurs. Through the program, 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 exploratory opportunities and possibilities are endless.
The idea for the program started with the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, which was hosting students for lunch meetings. Recognizing the wealth of connectivity between club members and area businesses leaders, the club saw the opportunity to take the program further, launching the Rotary Student Program. Within its first year, the program quickly gained support with participation from five school districts and interest grew in other parts of Michigan.
Through further research, it was discovered that the career connection void was not just in Michigan or in North America, but was global in scale. After gaining the attention of Rotary District 6360 leadership in Michigan, the program caught the attention of Rotary International President, 2011-2012, Kalyan Banerjee, when it was presented to him at Rotary International headquarters on February 2, 2012.
The Rotary Student Program was given heightened global attention during breakout sessions at Rotary International Convention 2013, Lisbon, Portugal and again at Rotary International Convention 2015, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Presenters were Rotary Student Program Founder and CEO of JohnsonRauhoff, Jackie Huie, Chief Strategy Officer of JohnsonRauhoff, Mike Huie, and Rotary District 6360 District Governor 2013-2014, Terry Allen.
Since program inception, more than 139 countries traffic the Rotary Student Program website with more than 18,000 unique visitors. While the Rotary Student Program Facebook page will have more timely activity, returning visitors to the website will see fresh downloadable information on a regular basis and should visit often. Input on successful programs is encouraged by connecting with program Founder, Jackie Huie, at Jhuie@johnsonrauhoff.com.
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.
Mentor Meeting: One student and one Rotarian meet with business professionals. In these meetings, students are encouraged to ask probing questions about career pathing and college classes.
Rotary Meeting: Students attend a Rotary meeting and provide a 1 to 2 minute presentation on their experience. School officials, parents, and participating business professionals are invited to attend.
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
Visit the Rotarians tab in this website for steps on how to get started
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