How Do Our Children Choose Careers?
From aerospace engineer to zoologist, the sky’s the limit in choosing a career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 12,000 career options for our children to consider!
How can we give our children opportunities to learn about many different careers? How can they see the connection between what they learn in school and the world of work? How will they find a career they’ll love?
One of the most effective ways to help our children navigate among thousands of different occupations is Career Pathways. These are six broad groupings of careers that share similar characteristics and whose employment requirements call for many common interests, strengths, and competencies. The groupings encompass the entire spectrum of career options, providing opportunities for all students and all ability levels.
The Career Pathways chart in this article presents the personal characteristics related to success in each pathway, examples of occupations, relevant courses in school, and level of education required.
This information helps students see how school subjects relate to their future employment. It also helps students examine their interests, talents, and goals—and how these can relate to a chosen career.
Schools across Michigan are being encouraged to integrate Career Pathways into their curricula, and many are doing so! They are finding that blending Career Pathways into classroom instruction improves student attendance, retention, achievement, career decision-making, and career goal attainment.
This article recommends specific steps that can be taken by parents as well as educators to help our children get an early start on career planning. There are steps that employers can take, too, to invest in their future workforce. Working together, we can build the framework essential to our children’s success in careers of their choice.
- Talk with your children about their interests, abilities, and talents.
- Make sure your children go to school every day, on time, with a good attitude . . . as they will need to do on a job.
- Give your children responsibility for jobs around the house.
- Find out what your children are learning in school.
- Encourage your children to participate in service-oriented activities in the community.
- Talk about how your children’s interests can be applied to careers that they might enjoy.
- Explore with your children as many of these careers as possible.
- Look at postsecondary education and training options with your children.
- Talk about your own job and career in a positive manner.
- Encourage your children’s school district to offer Career Pathways.
What is the Role of Educators?
- Help students see the connection between the skills and knowledge they are developing in school and future careers by using real-world examples in instruction.
- Implement Career Pathways.
- Help students discover their talents, strengths, and career interests.
- Collaborate with local businesses to provide work-based experiences, such as tours, mentoring, and job shadowing.
- Develop class projects where students research and learn about different careers.
- Help students understand the need for advanced skills and education for future work.
- Involve business people in curriculum design to make courses more relevant to the world of work.
- Implement the Michigan Comprehensive Guidance & Counseling Program*.
- Have students develop an Education Development Plan (EDP)**, beginning in middle school.
- Offer instruction in workplace readiness, such as teamwork and problem solving.
- Collaborate with educators to develop an integrated curriculum based on academic standards and real-work experiences.
- Offer schools and students as many work-based learning opportunities as possible, such as tours, mentoring, job shadowing, and non-paid work experiences.
- Serve on a school improvement team.
- When interviewing young people, ask to see their school portfolio, attendance record, and transcript.
- Visit a school as a speaker or mock interviewer.
- Be a partner with a school by donating equipment and sharing training.
- Serve on a committee to evaluate curricula.
- Offer School-to-Registered Apprenticeships***.
- Offer teacher/counselor internships.
- Recruit other businesses to work closely with schools.
*Michigan Comprehensive Guidance & Counseling Program:
A program designed to address the needs of all students by helping them acquire and apply knowledge of self and others, develop competencies in career and life planning, and achieve educational success. The program offers sequentially planned activities to meet the needs of children and adolescents as they grow and progress from one grade level to the next.
**Education Development Plan (EDP):
A personal document in which a student identifies career goals, lists interests and skills in line with meeting those goals, and records the experiences, education, and accomplishments he or she wants to pursue to successfully attain them. The purpose of the EDP is to provide every student with an ongoing and periodically updated record of career planning that will serve as a guide for entering a career of choice.
***School-To-Registered Apprenticeships (STRA):
A program that gives employers an opportunity to train school students through a formal registered apprenticeship program. Students in the STRA program participate in paid summer and school year on-the-job training. At graduation, they are guaranteed full-time employment and paid tuition to a community college.
Your one-stop solution for getting skills,
exploring careers, finding work, and finding workers.
Michigan Department of Career Development
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is right for you.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition
Related Documents> MDCD Career Pathways Comparison Chart> How Do Our Children Choose Careers PDF > MDCD Career Pathways Comparison Chart in PDF
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor