In honor of CTE Month, we invited veteran career technology counselor and 2015 National ACTE Career Guidance Award winner Jeanie Bragg to write today's article. Jeanie shares her perspective on what it takes to prepare future ready students who are equipped to make informed career choices. Also be sure to read Jeanie’s previous article, “My Career Path to Becoming a Career Counselor.”
What is future ready?
As a school counselor I know that the preparation to become “future ready” does not happen overnight. In fact, career development is a lifelong process beginning as early as Pre-Kindergarten. When a child enters school, the formal career development process starts. By providing a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate career education program from Pre-K through 16, a student has a systematic way to become future ready.
The elementary student may answer this question with a common career the student is familiar with such as nurse, doctor, teacher, or police officer. It is my goal to broaden the child's point of reference and heighten career awareness.
In middle school, students should start using resources to investigate career options. Self-awareness activities, interest assessments, and career projects help students understand career options. In the eighth grade, students select an endorsement/major and develop a focused educational plan which includes coherent sequence of courses related to a career interest.
The high school guidance component is vital in assisting students in learning self-advocacy skills and owning their career development process. To be future ready, a student must seize all educational opportunities and package the experience into a comprehensive portfolio.
Online Future Ready Resources
One way students can take additional assessments and research careers as well as obtain valuable information about postsecondary education and training is by using an online system such as Kuder Navigator®. This type of resource provides an economical way for schools to deliver up-to-date information in a “one-stop resource” platform; replacing the need for printed materials which get outdated very quickly.
By using these tools within the comprehensive guidance program, students are empowered to navigate their career development future, understand the importance of stacking credentials, and embrace lifelong learning as a career necessity. In addition, by taking rigorous course work, participating in internships or other extended learning opportunities, being active in leadership organizations, taking courses for college credit and earning industry recognized credentials such as licensures or certifications, students begin the process towards future readiness.
Kudos to Kuder
Recently at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) CareerTech VISION 2014, I had the opportunity to visit with Ted O'Brien, Kuder's vice president of sales. Kuder's commitment to providing cost-effective career development resources for schools is commendable. The company goes a step further by recognizing guidance professionals through the ACTE awards program. From the inception of the ACTE Career Guidance Award in 2012, Kuder has sponsored and recognized the nationwide efforts of the award finalist. Kudos to Kuder and their effort to provide quality career development resources and recognize guidance professionals for a job well done!
About the Author
Jeanie Bragg has worked in the field of education for over 30 years. She currently serves as Denton Independent School District's lead career counselor on a team of four that serves more than 25,000 students annually. Jeanie designed, developed, and is implementing a unique comprehensive developmentally appropriate career guidance program for the district's PreK-12 students.