After our second virtual NW Youth Careers Expo, we asked students, educators, and exhibitors to tell us about their experiences. The feedback helps PWA plan future career exploration.
Over the first two live days at the Expo on March 15-16, 2022, we saw thousands of students, educators and employers interact with each other in the Exhibit Halls, Auditorium and Industry Forums. The 3,000 attendees logged more than 49,109 unique booth visits over two days, joined scores of live booth sessions and viewed on average 1-2 career talks apiece in the auditorium. Here are more key statistics and testimonials from this year’s data and survey.
Student Interest: What We Learned
Top 10 Most Visited Booths (first two live days)
- AWS Amazon, Nike, Oregon Laborers Apprenticeship/Local 737, OnPoint Community Credit Union, Fortis Construction, The Boeing Company, Legacy Health, Portland General Electric, Oregon Health & Science University and Hoffman Construction.
Top 10 Most Attended Auditorium Talks (first two live days)
- How to Ace Your Job Interview
- How to Be a Leader at Work & Life
- Creating a Winning Resume (Even Without Much Work Experience)
- 25 & Under: Being a Young Professional
- How to Land a Job
- Welcome and Celebration Song
- How to Find Mentors As You Start Your Career
- Secrets to a Great Informational Interview
- Financial Lessons for Your First Job
- Across the Spectrum: Being LGBTQ+ at Work
What Students Said They Liked Best and Why:
- “I enjoyed the booths that highlighted creative outlets and options.”
- “I enjoyed the live sessions in the auditorium the best. It was easy to follow and had great information to share.”
- “I thought the chat rooms were really nice because you could interact with actual humans. I also liked being able to see what other people had asked in the past so I could have some of my questions answered without having to ask myself.”
- “I enjoyed the videos because it shows people spending time to record and edit to make something for us to watch quickly and appreciate it.”
Post-Expo Evaluations: Top 5 takeaways
Takeaway 1: The majority of participants were satisfied.
Participants who described the virtual Expo as “excellent” or “good”:
- 81% of educators
- 80% of students
- 80% of exhibitors
- “The site was engaging, students found lots of things to explore ... the commitment to diversity was obvious, and I loved that the trades were well-represented.” - an educator
- “I learned a lot and was able to see a bunch of opportunities here in my area! I was also able to learn a lot about what different organizations in my city do which was a great experience.” - a student
- “I think being present to engage, as well as just even having a booth at all, was a great way to present ourselves/our services to the students and educators in attendance. We loved participating!” - an exhibitor
Takeaway 2: Zoom fatigue is real. People are craving the real thing.
- “The virtual platform is wonderful considering we are in pandemic, but I think the most impact for students comes from the in-person experience.” - an educator
- “I think you guys did the best you could I would just prefer if it wasn’t online.” - a student
- “We talked to maybe two or three students. I think you all did great. I just think that people are burnt out on virtual events at this point.” - an exhibitor
Takeaway 3: There is very strong support for the in-person Expo.
Participants who prefer an in-person Expo to a virtual one:
- 94% of educators
- 89% of students
- 73% of exhibitors
- “I believe I would have had more students participate if the fair were in person. … They need human connection and there is so much more enthusiasm gained by being with others who want to move in the same direction and with face-to-face (in-person) conversations.” - an educator
- “I think the Expo was the best it could be virtually, the only way it could be better is if it was in person.” - a student
- “I think that we can better connect with students face to face!” - an exhibitor
- “One has to be present and engaged to affect change!” - an exhibitor
Takeaway 4: Let’s not toss out virtual altogether, though.
- “I like the idea of a hybrid model so more students have access to the opportunity and have more time to explore options. The virtual platform could be a great place for student/teacher planning for the in-person event as well a tool for student exploration and curiosity after the experience.” - an educator
- “Virtual gives the option for students who cannot take an entire day to participate in a field trip. In person is a great experience for students.” - an educator
- “Our school only takes juniors to the expo. It would be great to have the virtual option as well for seniors to access to further explore pathways.” - an educator
- “I do love both formats for different reasons. I saw students who would NEVER approach someone and talk in person, and would be overwhelmed by all the people at the in-person Expo get deeply engaged with the online format. On the other hand, I think students getting to engage with real humans doing awesome things, and figuring out that they are just people too who put on shoes every morning is invaluable.” - an educator
Takeaway 5: Retention looks strong.
Participants who say they intend to return next year:
- 95% of educators
- 80% of exhibitors
- “It's what we do. [It’s a] great opportunity to connect with and inspire youth in a safe, super organized and accessible venue; banking on PWA's great connections with school districts too.” - an exhibitor
- “This is such a great opportunity for students to learn about interview skills, how to ask good questions during informational interviews, network with exhibitors and be a part of their community.” - an educator
- ““[The benefit I see for students is] exploring all the possibilities out there. Most of my students don’t know what business exist outside of their neighborhoods, it was cool to see how many options are available to them just a bus ride away.” - an educator
- “They are able to see what career paths they could take and see new ones that they might not have thought of before.” - an educator
- “Networking skills, college and career planning, resume building, exploring different pathways, diversity of speakers and representation! All of it!” - an educator
Save the date!
- 2023 NW Youth Careers Expo and PWA Expo Breakfast: Wednesday, Feb, 22, 2023, at the Oregon Convention Center.