Career Exploration


What is career exploration?

"Career exploration" refers to programming that introduces younger students to a variety of possible careers. These programs are primarily focused on elementary and middle school students, while high school students will explore careers in more depth through work-based learning.

PrepareRI plans to grow a sustained system of career awareness and exploration opportunities that will enable educators and schools to provide students with multiple opportunities to gain exposure to high-skill, high-growth careers. Our goal is that 100% of middle schools in Rhode Island will offer career awareness and exploration programming by 2020.


Menu of Career exploration options

PrepareRI leverages preexisting successful partnerships in order to offer a menu of low or no-cost options for schools to expand career awareness and exploration programming for K-12 students. 


View the Career Exploration Menu


RIDE will leverage New Skills for Youth funding to serve as a one-time investment that will bring career awareness and exploration into every school in Rhode Island. Partners are identified by their ability to provide high-quality experiences as determined by local, state and national leaders.

The number of programs on the menu will grow as we learn more about successful practice within Rhode Island and throughout the country. If you have a program that you believe may be a fit for the menu, please reach out to

Career Exploration grants

RIDE is launching a new Career Exploration Grant for interested middle schools to support and accelerate the integration of career exploration activities with existing learning experiences for all students in grades 6 to 8. A goal of PrepareRI’s strategic plan is to support Rhode Island middle schools in embedding both comprehensive and industry-specific career exploration into students’ 6-8 experience.


Career Exploration grants are intended to accelerate the integration of career exploration activities with existing learning experiences in middle school (grades 6-8).  RIDE will award grants on a competitive basis to local educational agencies (LEAs) for new or existing middle school career exploration activities in an effort to create a portfolio of career exploration models that are integrated into core content areas, which are developed and/or adapted in partnership with industry representatives.  Career exploration grants will:

  1. Embed hands-on career exploration activities into existing curriculum allowing for students to see increased relevance of their education;

  2. Create the development of and/or adapt activities in partnership between school and industry representatives,

  3. Ensure the sustainability of career exploration efforts in a school by integrating into the school curriculum rather than establishing separate career exploration time - this may include the integration of afterschool time if there are clear and sustainable connections to student coursework; and,

  4. Provide trusted peer-to-peer resources that increase school buy-in for adoption.

Rhode Island seeks to support partnerships between employers or trade associations and schools to develop high-quality materials for career exploration. In applying for this grant, schools must identify an employer partner with which to develop and pilot a new, or adapt an existing, career exploration activity.  The products, modules and/or activities developed with grant funds are intended to be models for continued use in schools across the state. As such, activities may include: simulations, guided discussions, videos or other replicable activities that could be used in other schools across the state in the future.

Grant Results & Winners

For the 2019 Career Exploration Application Grant cycle, RIDE received applications from 21 schools, requesting a total $102,029.71.   A total of 18 schools have been selected to be funded for the career exploration grant.  The total amount being given to funded schools is $87,029.71. Schools will be developing tools and resources that integrate career exploration into school day coursework which can be shared statewide.  The list of winners can be found here.


exploration organizations

  • Blue Valley Schools’ Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) is a nationally-recognized, innovative high school program. Students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit. CAPS is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs. CAPS provides students the opportunity to deeply explore professional areas of interest through a profession-based, inquiry learning method. CAPS is driven by the changing workforce needs of industry, therefore instructors and CAPS business partners collaborate to develop coursework. CAPS curriculum is dynamic, constantly evolving to follow industry trends and market changes using a copyrighted rapid prototyping curriculum development process.

  • EVERFI: EVERFI is the leading education technology company that provides scalable digital real world education for millions of students of all ages. EVERFI helps teachers prepare students to face real life challenges - now and in the future. Thanks to hundreds of partners who share our mission, EVERFI offers free digital resources and local implementation support to help elementary, middle and high school teachers equip their students with skills for life.

  • INCubatoredu: The INCubatoredu program offers students an authentic entrepreneurship experience. In this program, students have the opportunity to create and develop their own entrepreneurial idea. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors, guiding student teams through the Lean Startup processes of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses, adapting, and continually learning and improving. This cycle of experimentation is combined with foundational business concepts such as marketing and finance.

  • Inventing Heron: Inventing Heron is an online career resource created to inspire young people to dream, to set goals, to bold bold and fearless, to work hard, to have a positive impact on the world, and to be their best selves. The site features hundreds of video and written interviews about work so young people can learn from their experiences. Inventing Heron knows young people cannot become what they cannot see and aims to show them that nothing is out of their reach.

  • Junior Achievement Rhode Island: We are the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement's programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.

  • Project Lead the Way: Project Lead The Way (PTLW) is a not-for-profit organization that develops STEM curricula for use by US elementary, middle, and high schools. We create an engaging classroom environment unlike any other. PLTW empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges. Through our pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students not only learn technical skills, but also learn to solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate, and collaborate. We also provide teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.

  • Rhode Island Commerce Corporation: The Commerce Corporation works with public, private and non-profit partners to create the conditions for businesses in all sectors to thrive and to improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the state's long-term economic health and prosperity.

  • SENEDIA: The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) was formed to identify, champion, and coordinate issues that contribute to our national security and benefit employers, local communities, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and other federal government agencies. SENEDIA’s vision is to be a catalyst for thought leadership and technical innovation in undersea technology, cybersecurity, and other critical defense technologies. Our mission is to enable the development of the innovative technology, foster thought leadership, and facilitate required workforce development.