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Guest Speaker

A guest speaker activity allows students to listen to a presentation to learn about the speaker’s career, business or organization and industry, and then ask questions which will help them consider whether they might like to pursue a career in the industry.

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Guest speaker engagements are an activity in the Career Exploration stage of the work-based learning continuum, which provides authentic experiences to all students engaged in career-related programs or courses of study in Chicago Public Schools.

Designed to meet specific learning outcomes, guest speaker presentations are educationally rich, tied to the curriculum, and designed to help students connect what they’re learning in school with the workplace. Presentations are usually conducted in the school, but in some cases, guest speakers may “visit” a classroom electronically via Google Meets or some other technology.

This opportunity is intended primarily for students who are beginning to explore career pathways, but may also be used to deepen students’ knowledge depending on the content of the presentation.


Guest speaker presentations provide a realistic picture of a business, its role in the community, and the career paths and occupations of its workforce. The activities are designed to:

  • Provide exposure to potential careers and jobs.
  • Help students make the connection between school and the workplace.
  • Inform career planning.


Guest speaker presentations help students build knowledge about the education and training needed for a particular job, career path, and entry into the industry. The activities are structured to:

  • Allow students to listen, receive information, and ask questions.
  • Enable students to begin identifying areas of career interest.


Guest speaker presentations are supported by three formats that deliver unique experiences to students and employers. The activities are organized through:

  • Classroom preparation, including research on the industry and participating businesses.
  • Employer orientation and support.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience orally and in writing.


Guest speaker presentations help students learn about future workplace opportunities through engaging with representatives from local businesses or organizations. The activities are connected to:

  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • Future work-based learning activities.