SILVER SPRING, Md. and ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Western Union Foundation, Discovery Education and the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) announced today the launch of Open Doors: Unlock Your Future, a new online destination providing high school students, educators and families with high-quality tools and resources to help students prepare for their future through in-depth career exploration. The program represents the shared vision of its partners, who attribute the future success of America's youth to a solid educational foundation.
Designed to encourage high school students to explore and prepare for their future, the program encourages career-readiness through an expansive offering including:
- Career Resources for Students: The site's digital resource center features an interactive tool that helps students match personal interests with complementary career options. In addition, the site's career profile section gives students a firsthand look at potential career opportunities with in-depth interviews featuring professionals in five of the hottest fields of tomorrow, including construction management, biomedical engineering and medical technology.
- Targeted Resources for Parents and Children: Bridging the gap between parents and their children, Open Doors: Unlock Your Future offers bilingual family discussion starters intended to foster open dialogue around students' post-high school goals and desires. The discussion starters help parents better facilitate conversations around crucial questions: how can students identify career options that align with their interests, where do students begin with career research, and what are the actionable steps that need to be taken? Available in both English and Spanish, Open Doors: Unlock Your Future ensures that these resources are reaching the largest possible audience consciously inclusive of those communities displaying the greatest need.
- Open Doors Challenge: The program's dynamic online resources are accompanied by the inaugural Open Doors: Unlock Your Future Challenge. Presented by Discovery Education, the Challenge is open to high school students nationwide, and aims to underscore the connection between personal interests and career opportunities by encouraging students to reflect on their future by making direct connections between what they strive to do in the future with their current passions and interests. The winning high school student, selected at random, will receive $5,000 to support their own career plans as well as $5,000 for their school's job readiness efforts.
With wide access to a dedicated network of educators, students and parents across the country, Discovery Education will ensure that Open Doors: Unlock Your Future reaches into classrooms and homes nationwide. Through grassroots outreach, direct-to-teacher e-blasts, e-newsletters and media campaigns, the program's resources will reach deep into the educational community."We are pleased to work with Discovery Education and the Association of Educational Publishers to bring this important initiative to parents, teachers and students across the country," said Patrick Gaston, president of the Western Union Foundation. "As an organization, the Western Union Foundation is committed to supporting educational programs that enable career readiness and set the framework for financial inclusion. By creating a dialogue around career opportunities, and utilizing online and digital platforms to extend the reach of the effort, the Open Doors program is an innovative approach to unlocking the true potential of America's youth." The Open Doors initiative with Discovery Education and the Association of Educational Publishers is an extension of the Western Union Education for Better program, which is a three-year commitment to growing young minds through strategic grants that focus on secondary education and vocational training. "I'm excited to share this program that can give students the tools and resources to better understand how their current passions can be nurtured and developed to create meaningful careers and futures," said teacher Rita Mortenson of Verona Area High School in Verona, WI. "This program is a valuable resource in preparing students to be college, career and global citizenship ready." "We are thrilled to be a part of this ambitious initiative that encourages high school students to explore the wide variety of career options that are available," said Susan Fletcher, grant manager for the Association of Educational Publishers and Senior Director at the PreK-12 Learning Group of the Association of American Publishers. "Open Doors will help enlighten students to the possibilities and give them a foundation on which they can build their futures." For more information on Open Doors: Unlock your Future or to view the free resources, please visit www.opendoorschallenge.com. About Discovery EducationDiscovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com. About The Western Union FoundationThe Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has committed more than $91.2 million in grants and other giving to more than 2,682 nongovernmental organizations in more than 133 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation, is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity. To learn more, visit www.westernunionfoundation.org. About the Association of Educational PublishersThe Association of Educational Publishers (AEP), a 501(c)(3) division of the Association of American Publishers, encourages and advocates for professional, quality content for teaching and learning. Through its initiatives, such as the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative ( www.lrmi.net) and Innovation Through Inclusion, AEP works to inform and advance the industry by promoting the value of educational materials in all media as essential learning resources. SOURCE Discovery Education