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Why do we have to know this? Making the case for middle school career exploration Presented by Dan Blake Career Development Specialist, Sonoma Co. Office.

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Presentation on theme: "Why do we have to know this? Making the case for middle school career exploration Presented by Dan Blake Career Development Specialist, Sonoma Co. Office."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do we have to know this? Making the case for middle school career exploration Presented by Dan Blake Career Development Specialist, Sonoma Co. Office of Education Educating for Careers Conference Sacramento, California March 4, 2011

2 You expect kids to choose a career in middle school? The rationale for middle school career exploration

3 Middle school is an age- appropriate time to ask students to think about their career ambitions. This does NOT mean forcing students to make career choices, but creating activities that allow them to research and gather information on specific careers.

4 Young people have high ambitions, expecting to be highly educated and have professional careers, yet research has found that many do not develop coherent plans for achieving their goals. (Hughes & Merchur Karp, 2004)

5 Sixth-through-ninth-grade children have demonstrated very little understanding of how school relates to the real world and seem to have little to no awareness of the skills and knowledge needed for success in the future. (Johnson, 2000)

6 Sex-role stereotypes, particularly about gender- appropriate occupations are formed early. (Guss & Adams, 1998)

7 When surveyed, the majority of high school dropouts say they began to “disconnect” in middle school or earlier. (Castellano et al., 2002)

8 Guidance activities directed at junior high school students had the largest effect sizes, indicating that guidance efforts may be most effective with pre-teenage (rather than high school or college) students (Hughes & Merchur Karp, 2004)

9 Career Development is an ongoing lifelong process, and its challenges must be addressed beginning in elementary and middle school. (O’Brien, 1999)

10 Career Development Continuum Preparing all Youth for Success in College, Career, and Life 9-16 Career Awareness Learn about a wide variety of jobs and careers Career Exploration Explore, research, and plan for the future Career Preparation Gain education, training, and work experience Educated Engaged Experienced Aware Skilled Prepared Connected K-8 AwarenessExplorationPreparation Classroom & School Web Research Guest Speakers Career Interest Assessment College & Career Fairs Career Contextual Instruction College Awareness School & Workplace Core Academic Preparation Career Technical Courses & Programs Career-Related Project-Based Learning Career Plan Refinement Work-Ready Certification/Soft Skills Occupational Certifications Job-Seeking Skills Work Experience Internships College Preparation Postsecondary Options: Community College 4-year College or University Trade/Technical School Military Service/National Service Apprenticeship Enter Workforce (full or part time) Self-Employment/Entrepreneur Families & Neighborhood Adult Interaction Role Model Observation Families & Neighborhood Risk Taking Role Playing Progression of Responsibility Workplace Job Shadowing Career Mentoring Community Service Projects Informational Interviews Workplace Industry Tours & Field Trips Career & Job Fairs Youth in the Workplace Classroom & School Career Pathways, Courses, & Clubs Integrated Curriculum Classroom Simulations Career Plan Development Career-Focused Projects & Assignments College Exploration

11 Current efforts… Too frequently, career preparation for middle grade students consists of a single, brief unit once a year. Ideally, career education and development should be infused into the curriculum.

12 The most effective career development programs are systemic—developmental, accessible to all learners, and embedded in the curriculum as part of the whole process of educating a child for the larger thing called life. (Maddy-Bernstein & Dare, 1997)

13 What do you want to be when you grow up? We’re asking the wrong question

14 Most of us acquired a superficial and narrow knowledge base of occupations while we were growing up. Our occupational knowledge reflected what we knew about our family members’ jobs, the jobs of our neighbors, and the people we came in contact with in our community on a regular basis. This natural occurrence tends to severely limit the career options that students see for themselves. It may explain why so many children mention the jobs of firefighter, police officer, nurse, or teacher when asked what they want to be when they grow up. These jobs are familiar to them in their daily lives. (Colussy, 1998)

15 → 78% of students credit their parents as their top adult influence in career planning. (Ferris State University) → 84% of American adults say they are not in their ideal job. (Career Building) What’s wrong with this picture?

16 Program Goals & Objectives Expand knowledge of career options

17 Program Goals & Objectives Expand knowledge of high school and post-secondary education/training options

18 Program Goals & Objectives Increase perception of post-secondary relevance

19 Program Goals & Objectives Increase understanding of career goals, interests, and aspirations

20 Program Goals & Objectives Increase the number of students who develop integrated academic/career development plans, including course sequences that are consistent with career pathway options

21 Program Goals & Objectives Increase awareness of middle school staffs regarding career development resources and educational options

22 Who has time for this? Organizational Structure

23 Program Coordinator Responsibilities Program goals and direction Site Coordinator recruitment and training Research, acquisition, and dissemination of career awareness/exploration curriculum Sponsor solicitation Budget management Liaison to professional organizations, CDE, and the State Legislature Marketing and promotional event planning Media and public relations Program evaluation and revision Overall program oversight and support

24 Site Coordinator Responsibilities Planning and implementation of program activities Participation in program planning meetings and trainings Recruit teachers/counselors for participation in career exploration activities Solicit information and suggestions from teachers/counselors regarding program activities Coach teachers/counselors on the implementation of career exploration activities Communicate program goals & activities to administration, faculty, and parents/guardians Assist Program Coordinator with the recruitment of business and community professionals to take part in school site’s career exploration activities Liaison between the school site faculty and the Program Coordinator

25 Teacher & Counselor Responsibilities Implement career awareness curriculum as part of regular classroom instruction and in student counseling sessions Participate in trainings and workshops on career awareness/exploration as necessary

26 Site Administration Responsibilities Provide general support for career awareness and exploration program Meet regularly with Site Coordinator to discuss program goals & activities Promote program to faculty and parents Explore and support delivery methods to reach widest possible audience

27 What does it look like? Key Curriculum & Activities

28 The Real Game California Being implemented in a variety of ways: Elective “wheel” or “rotation” (9-12 weeks straight) Core curriculum for year-long Career Exploration course Once-a-week over the course of year (e.g. every Friday) After-school or summer enrichment class And by a number of disciplines: Variety of elective teachers English teachers Math teachers ELL teachers AVID teachers Special Education teachers

29 Step-Up Classes 8 to 16 hour CTE “Mini-Courses” for middle school students at their partner high school After-school (e.g., 5 consecutive Wednesdays) or summer (e.g., three hours per day for one week) Benefits: –Opportunity for hands-on experience in high school pathway –Smoother transition from middle school to high school –Make connection to high school teacher –Recruitment/marketing opportunity for HS pathway programs

30 Career Day OPTIONAL FORMATS/FEATURES: –Keynote Speaker + two breakout sessions –Three breakout sessions –Pre-Activities: Use of career interest inventories to identify careers Survey/menu of speakers Lesson on appropriate/inappropriate questions to ask presenters Career-themed poster contest –Post-Activities: Thank you notes Debrief/review of learning Career report/presentation on career of choice

31 Kuder Navigator Career & Academic Planning System

32 Kuder Navigator Built-in assessments on career interests, skills, & work values Largest occupation database available Detailed information on over 7,000 technical schools, colleges, and universities The ability to do side-by-side comparisons of careers and colleges A multi-year planning template to track progress toward education and career goals Information on over 10,000 scholarships and financial aid programs Built-in e-portfolio Lifetime accounts

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49 Final Thoughts…

50 Building School-Wide Support Create committee or planning team to plan activities & share ideas “Pet the friendly dogs” Let others come on board gradually Provide concrete examples of how career exploration can fit in all disciplines

51 Engaging Your Local Community Educate community about value of “working upstream” Create opportunities for community members to share expertise (e.g., Career Days, workplace tours, guest speakers, informational interviews) Implement “Adopt-a-School” campaign

52 Without willing & motivated learners, all our best reform efforts will be in vain.

53 Contact Information Dan Blake Career Development Specialist Sonoma County Office of Education


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