How do high schools increase the number of graduating seniors? One way is to introduce career opportunities as early as middle school to expose students to all their options. We expect high school students to reach a goal, like graduating from high school, when they barely know themselves or their interests. What if we changed the goal not only to graduation day, but also to their life, their purpose, their mission? If students are given the choice to explore different careers, they will feel more involved in the experience, more motivated to advance to higher education, and develop the ability to see their education as the stepping stones to reaching their goals.
According to the ACT’s study, “Career Planning: Students need help starting early and staying focused,” students start thinking about career possibilities as early as 8th grade, and students gain their career interests as a result of experience. Cities and schools who join forces for workforce planning, can provide students the opportunity to meet professionals, network, and ask questions so that they can learn more about fields and paths of study. Exposing students to careers at a young age can make them intrinsically driven to complete high school, instead of externally driven by parents or teachers. If students are encouraged to learn about, develop and lead with their passions, their high school education becomes a stepping stone for a tangible goal. When the student owns the pathway to their future, they also own the responsibility of whether they reach their goal or not. How does anyone reach a goal if they never set it? How can an elementary, middle, or high school student be driven to graduate if we don’t show them the end of high school is just the beginning, and the rewarding context in long-term outcomes for challenges and sacrifices they may experience today?
Career Planning: Students Need Help Starting Early and Staying Focused – act.org
Subject inspired by: Aurora school initiative looks at helping students’ career dreams come true
AURORA — Hinkley High senior Edwin Hernandez-Corral grew up dreaming of being an electrician.
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