When schools suddenly skidded to a halt this spring due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, career and technology educators had to come up with innovative ideas fast.

Much of the curriculum in districts nationwide shifted to a distance learning format, but while online videos can demonstrate proper welding techniques, for example, they are no substitute for handling a welding torch and practicing techniques in real time. Construction, cosmetology, healthcare and culinary arts are no different.

Hands-on professions require in-person practice….

So instead of students going to the companies, CareerConnect@Home in Washington state is bringing the employees of those companies to students through daily webinars.

The opportunity, which runs through June 12, is sponsored by Career Connect and developed by Kinetic West, a social impact consulting firm.

Challenge Seattle typically sponsors field trips that bring classes of students to work sites in the Seattle area, where they meet with employers and try a skill, such as making a latte at Starbucks.

“We typically have about 90 [trips] a year,” said Andy Ferrera, Kinetic West consulting manager. “We got through 10 and the rest were canceled.”

Rather than let the whole plan drop, the firm worked with those companies to create career-information webinars. The group focused on uncovering the “invisible” careers.

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