The Career Exploration (CE) Program at Academy High connects the classroom to student’s future life goals through the development of self-exploration, career exploration, planning, and management skills necessary for their joy and success during and after high school. The program is made up of three different components:


Career Exploration Modules

Career Exploration I is a semester-long module that guides students through material that helps them articulate, navigate, and achieve their goals at Academy High and beyond. Emphases in the class have included

  • Self-Exploration Activities & Assessments
  • Career Field & Career Path Exploration
  • Resume/Cover Letter Writing
  • Job Search/Mock Job Applications
  • Peer-to-Peer Mock Interviews
  • Internship & Job Shadow Research/Mock Solicitation

Career Exploration II  is a quarter-long independent study where students design their own experience; whether they decide to pursue an internship, a series of job shadow opportunities, or career-specific training is up to them!

I began the class with no idea what career path I wanted to follow, but now have a clearer idea of the job I want. I gained this from the assignments that had us explore different career fields and career clusters, because they helped me look at careers in a less broad context. I could find jobs I want based on my interests easily.” 

– Student, Class of 2023

Coming into this class, I didn’t really have any expectation for what a “dream job” would be. Going through this course, I not only feel better about not knowing exactly what I want to do as a “dream job,” but I also have a better understanding of what my career path might look like with what I plan on doing in college.”  

– Student, Class of 2024

“Lunch and Learn” Series

The CE program’s “Lunch and Learn” series invites guest speakers from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences in their career field with students. A primary objective is to give students a lens through which to understand one person’s journey on a particular career path. Speakers as part of this series have included…

  • College Dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Lead Dynamics Engineer, Boeing
  • Digital Communications Manager, Alliance for Middle East Peace
  • Director of Operations, Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club
  • Videographer/Writer, The Washington Post
  • Director, Champaign Public Library
  • Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Director, Grand Prairie Friends Land Trust
  • Independent Writer, Editor, & Publisher
  • Owner/Broker, RE/MAX Realty Associates
  • Assistant Basketball Coach, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Archives Program Officer, University of Illinois Archives
  • Transportation Planner and Engineer, HNTB
  • Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Carle Health

“I really enjoyed going to Lunch and Learn sessions because I got to learn about the career process through first-hand experiences. I even got to hear from a speaker who has a career in the field that I am interested in and I was able to learn some important information about what a career like theirs would be like.”

Student, Class of 2024

Job Shadowing and Internship Opportunities

As part of their career exploration process, Academy High students may choose to pursue opportunities as shadows or interns with local businesses and organizations. Students work with Academy High faculty to identify shadowing or internship opportunities that speak to student’s career interests.

I went to the University of Illinois Law School and I was able to sit in on lectures. I learned more about criminal law and was able to hear from special guest speakers. I am interested in becoming a lawyer in the future and this internship helped me realize that I like the field. I would say to future students looking for an internship to keep their options open, that internships are a time to explore interests.”

Student. class of 2021