Most middle school and high school students have at least one thing in common: They've all been asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
While the question continually prompts students to start thinking of a future job as soon as possible, Mike Smith, the co-founder of Rabble Mill, a nonprofit established in 2018 with a mission to end generational poverty, wants to show young people that life is more than just a job.
That's why Smith has helped organize a lifestyles career fair on Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Bay, 2005 Y Street.
The fair will be hosted by Find Your Grind, which is an organization co-founded by Smith that aims to help young people "find their true calling and guide them through big life decisions." The career fair will give Nebraska middle school and high school students an opportunity to learn about lifestyles that pertain to specific jobs, personality traits that connect them with potential career fields and cultivate their interests into job skills.
“We're really trying to show these students what it looks like at the job, and then talk a lot about the lifestyle that the job offers you,” Smith said. “So, we’re trying to bring it to life.”
Instead of leading the students to pick a specific job, Smith said the career fair will focus more on lifestyle components, such as emotional, social and mental wellness, and choose jobs that match closely with their lifestyles, instead of the other way around. At the job fair, students can meet representatives from local companies, such as Hudl and Flywheel, to learn more about potential career opportunities.
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Some kids, Smith said, seek to have adventure as part of their daily job, while others prefer day-to-day routine.
“We're trying not to just focus on the career but for the entire life, which gives us a chance to focus more on a lot of social and emotional learning components that come with being healthy, successful adults,” Smith said.
While more than 600 students and more than 10 companies have signed up, Smith said he also encourages parents to check out the event. If schools are interested in registering students for the event, they can learn more at findyourgrind.com.
As a Nebraska native, Smith said Lincoln’s growing economy offers numerous career opportunities that students can leverage to shape their futures.
“There’s a cool wide range of opportunities that Nebraska has,” Smith said. “And I am excited for a lot of these Nebraska kids to get a first-hand look at some of the cool stuff that’s going on.”