New Career Café initiative supports students’ personal goals to promote college and career readiness in Oklahoma City schools

Career Café Press Release: October 2015

The K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma announces its Career Cafe initiative to help Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) students learn about career and college options as part of its GEAR UP for the PROMISE program. 

The initiative is designed to give students the opportunity to speak directly with community members about career and college planning in a small, group atmosphere during their lunch periods. Nine K20 cohort schools will each hold at least four Career Cafes throughout the year with interested students. Each session will host 30 or fewer students to offer personalized attention to each student’s outlined interests, and lunch at each event will be provided by GEAR UP for the PROMISE.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education to help students prepare for and pursue a college education. In 2012, the program started its work with 6th and 7th graders and has continued working with these students as they move through middle school, high school, and into higher education.

GEAR UP for the PROMISE is a partnership between the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center and OKCPS serving: Capitol Hill High School, Douglass Mid-High School, John Marshall Mid-High School, Northeast Academy Mid-High School, Northwest Classen High School, Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High School, Southeast High School, Star Spencer High School and U.S. Grant High School. 

The PROMISE project works with school leaders to meet the challenges specific to an urban district by increasing the percentage of cohort students who are academically prepared for entering institutions for higher education upon graduation, increasing high school graduation rates and the enrollment rates in institutions of higher education and increasing students' and families knowledge of institutions of higher education options, preparation and financing.

Upcoming sessions of Career Cafe include:

Wednesday, November 4  

Southeast High School, 5401 S. Shields Blvd

Currently requesting volunteer speakers

Thursday, November 5

Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High School, 1301 N.E. 101st St.

Speaker: Patricia “Pat” Kay Cantrell, Deputy General Counsel at the Oklahoma State Department of Health

Friday, November 13

Capitol Hill High School, 500 S.W. 36th St.

Speaker: Misha Goli, Dunkin Donuts Franchisee


Professionals who would like to volunteer to speak at an upcoming event should contact the GEAR UP for the PROMISE mentoring coordinator, Stacy Harris, at

For more information, contact Jacqueline Schlasner at