Take your Teen/Tween to Tech Trek on June 16

Why my tween and teen are going to Tech Trek instead of the pool on the last day of school

As a mom, I feel very lucky that my teenage daughters still talk to me. As a working mom, I feel even luckier that my kids are interested in my work and interested in their community.

For the third year in a row, my kids are skipping the pool and heading to downtown Ann Arbor to attend A2 Tech Trek.

For my kids, A2 Tech Trek is a bit of Shark Tank meets HGTV. My kids love asking the entrepreneurs at the SPARK Central Innovation Center how they plan to scale their business and they love checking out all the different office decor. What is it about kids and free stuff and free food? My kids love the free swag and the cool interactive games and exhibits on display at different offices.Last year, my older daughter Sarah spent hours playing with the virtual reality gear at Neurable’s exhibit.

A2 Tech Trek is a terrific way to expose your kids to a variety of careers and to meet and talk to real people working in tech. Participants are exposed to a variety of tech companies in downtown Ann Arbor, from boutique software development companies like Atomic Object to fast growing companies that are no longer start-ups like Duo Security. Such exposure expands horizons about what helps drive the Ann Arbor economy. Sure, most Ann Arbor kids know that the Big House is the largest stadium in the United States with capacity to seat more than 107,000 people, but just as important is the knowledge that downtown Ann Arbor has more than 3000 technology workers employed by 221 different high tech companies.

At A2 Tech Trek, my kids get to see how what they learn in school is applied in the real world. Kids interact with tech workers with job titles like scrum master, UX designer and UI designer – not the standard job titles you see at middle school career day!

Be sure to check out A2 Tech Trek on Friday, June 16, the last day of school for Ann Arbor Public Schools, a yearly event showcasing some of our most innovative companies. Ann Arbor SPARK’s mission is to advance the economy of the Ann Arbor region by establishing the area as a desired place for business expansion and location.

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(1 Comment)

  • Bert

    Feedback from the A2 Tech Trek

    First off. I. would like to thank all the companies and people who made this happen.
    The food, games and gifts where nice. Despite their initial protest with attending, our kids had fun and showed interest.
    However, has teenagers, they where left with the impression that these companies are not interested in them. Stay in school with your 1st Robotics, Lego Mindstorms, STEM classes, then come see us in 8 years.

    Nobody had even a simple touch screen with a power point demonstration of what their services entail.
    Or how about a simple simulation the kids could run through to solve a prototypical problem. Something hands on.

    Employees were helpful and available but it takes a different mindset to talk with a teen. Most of my kids friends have been designing and programming for years. So when someone ask if they would like for example, to see my robot move. They turn off pretty fast. These kids today are smart and they need challenges to flex their technological prowess.
    Today’s youth don’t want to be doctors or scientists. They want to be Oncologist and Nuclear Physicians.
    Last month my kids were invited to the SE Michigan honor awards where I met around 200 students from this area who maintained academic excellence the entire middle school years. Algebra, Geometry, Latin. High schools are doing a good job of offering business tech courses. When are tech companies going to step up with internships and part time apprenticeships for these kids.
    I keep thinking of our neighbors daughter who lives in Seattle. Her 14 year old is working part time has a chat room monitor for a popular children’s game. That is where we need to be if we’re ever to compete not just with the West, but the world. So hire a kid. Parents would even volunteer thier kid for the chance. Give them an opportunity to feel pride and reward for simple tasks.Then stand back and watch them grow. You will be amazed.

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