The Apple STEM Network (hosted by the North Central Education Service District 171) announced Wednesday that the organization has been awarded a $50,000 Career Connect Washington grant to connect rural K-12 students to career pathways.

North Central Educational Service District Director Dr. Sue Kane said thousands of students usually participate in large, in-person career events this time of year.

Kane said, "What we've done is we've partnered with the Employment Security Department and several other supporting stakeholders to be able to provide a series of virtual career exploration workshops this fall. They will be focused around specific industries, and on a weekly basis, offered to our school districts."

Targeted communities for this work include Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Grant counties among others. Students in these districts face lower course and special program offerings, and other barriers that inherently prevent them from learning about career pathways due to accessibility and connectivity.

"They can explore just like they would do if they were visiting booths in person." explained Kane, "Employers and career programs can set up virtual booths for students to be able to explore. The platform we are using allows students to chat directly with employers."

Kane added that they are planning to hold two more events for younger students next spring, although nothing is concrete as to what those might look like.

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