It’s all about the experiences.

On December 2, 43 high school students from Louis Riel School Division attended the annual Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the Province luncheon at the RBC Convention Centre.

The historic significance: they witnessed our first female Premier deliver her first speech outlining her vision for Manitoba.

The ‘43’ came from Louis Riel School Division’s Skills Credential Program, a unique initiative for grade 11-12 students to step outside school walls and network with professionals while they complete their academic programs.

The impact of the day has life-altering potential.

Grade 12 J. H., Bruns student Chantel LeBlanc felt the experience was ‘breathtaking, eye-opening, a chance to attend an important event and see so many opportunities. “

Grade 11 Windsor Park Collegiate student Noah Wenzel thought, “It was cool to come to such a professional place, it inspires me to learn more about what I can do, what I am capable of becoming.”

During the day they also they presented ideas on improving mental health in high schools to Kym Kaufman, Deputy Minister of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery during a workshop sandwiched around the luncheon in the morning and afternoon.

Local high school activities simply can’t impact student lives the way this event did. Today’s career development must include experiences that stretch students, pull them out of their comfort zones, and empower them to reflect on what the future can hold.

Most importantly, out-of-school experiences need to pique curiosity and possibility.

To put it in LEAN Career Design Canvas lingo: ‘Can’t connect those dots without first collecting them’.