OPDC launches new career exploration program for 7th-12th graders

Thanks to generous funding from McAuley Ministries, OPDC recently launched Future Makers, a new enrichment program for 7th-12th grade students. Through Future Makers, our agency partners engage Oakland and Hill District youth in hands-on experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), business, arts, health care, and college preparation. The program extends OPDC’s School 2 Career mission through offering high school students - and now middle school students, too – interactive activities to explore college and career opportunities during specialized Saturday workshops.


At the January workshops, Gateway to the Arts and Citizen Science Lab introduced students to careers in film production and forensic science. In the Gateway to the Arts workshop, “Drop the Mic,” 7th-9th graders learned about behind-the-scenes set management and used iMovie to practice film editing and sound production.

“This workshop was amazing,” said Shenelle, a sophomore who attended the Drop the Mic workshop. “I was able to learn how to make short movie clips by myself. It was exciting and easy to follow.”

The Citizen Science Lab workshop, "DNA Detectives", challenged 10th-12th graders to navigate a staged crime scene, collect evidence, and perform chemical, biological, and microscopic analyses.

Carrianne Floss, a Program Coordinator at Citizen Science Lab, says, “It was such a joy to work with the Future Makers team. We were happy to introduce the kids to the field of Forensic Science through such hands-on approaches.”

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Workshops take place the first two Saturdays of every month at the Thelma Lovette YMCA. At the March workshops, we’ll explore careers in sports medicine and athletic training in the Sports Medicine workshop (9th-12th grade) and architectural design in the Drafting Dreams workshop (7th-9th grade). All Future Makers participants must complete an application and submit it to Karla Stallworth at kstallworth@s2c.opdc.org.