Guest Speaker Guide

This guide is designed to help develop Guest Speaker presentations that work for youth and young adults, host employers and organizations, and Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) programs. It is part of the DYCD Work-Based Learning Toolkit, which provides proven approaches and strategies to create high-quality, safe and legal Work-Based Learning experiences for youth and young adults enrolled in the Learn & Earn Program in New York City.

Guest Speaker Overview

Using Guest Speakers to support learning is a structured Career Awareness activity in which youth and young adults listen to a presentation to learn about the speaker’s career, business or organization and industry, and ask questions to help them consider whether they might like to pursue a career path in the industry. Guest Speakers can also address core academic concepts, or support an activity currently underway in the classroom or in a workshop. Guest Speaker presentations are designed and structured to meet specific learning outcomes, be educationally rich, and are linked to the curriculum. They also build awareness of the speaker’s career pathway, the company or organization he or she works for, its industry sector, its role in the economy and the career options it provides. Guest Speaker presentations are conducted at the school and involve preparation and follow-up in the classroom or workshop, including research and reflection by youth. Guest Speakers are most effective when they are addressing topics related to the curriculum, and providing examples of the application of academic concepts in a real-world setting. In some cases, Guest Speakers may “visit” a classroom or workshop electronically via Skype or some other technology.

Guest Speaker presentations are designed to:

  • Provide exposure to potential careers and jobs
  • Build occupational knowledge
  • Build knowledge about the education and training needed for a particular job and entry into the industry
  • Create awareness of the business or organization’s role in the community, as well as its functions, processes and products
  • Provide a context for learning and foster an understanding of how academic concepts are applied in a real-world setting
The Importance of Structured Activity

All Guest Speaker presentations should include structured activity before, during and after the experience. These activities help ensure that all involved parties have meaningful, productive experiences that result in enriched learning. Proper planning and preparation, attention to legal and logistical details, maximization of learning potential, and communication and support for the youth and young adults and speakers will help ensure success.

Sustaining and growing Guest Speaker programs and all other Work-Based Learning types depends upon developing and maintaining positive relationships with the employers and organizations that are providing opportunities to the youth and young adults being served. These employers and organizations should be treated as valued customers and partners with frequent check-ins to address participation needs as they arise.

Guest Speaker Tools

Tip sheets and checklists for program staff, employer or organization partners, youth and young adults, and instructors are provided in this toolkit to help design, structure and support Guest Speaker experiences to maximize learning. Each tip sheet supplements the Work-Based Learning essential elements described in this toolkit, and provides a set of success factors and lists of activities or tasks to perform before, during and after the experience. A fact sheet for prospective employers is also provided.

In this Tool Packet:
Program Staff Tip Sheet: Guest Speaker Success Factors A tip sheet for Learn & Earn Program staff or intermediary partners responsible for implementing and supporting Guest Speaker programs
Youth/Young Adult Tip Sheet: Guest Speaker Success Factors A tip sheet to help youth and young adults get the most out of the Guest Speaker experience
Guest Speaker Tip Sheet: Success Factors  A tip sheet for participating guest speakers

  • What’s my role as a guest speaker?
  • What should I talk about?
  • How does this work?

Employer Fact Sheet: Guest Speaker A fact sheet for employers that describes what’s involved in a company providing a Guest Speaker

New York City Youth and Young Adult Career Pathways