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Even the most engaged students, enthusiastic job seekers, and dedicated educators need a break from the norm every now and then in order to stay motivated and focused.

And with so many observances, events, and promotions throughout the year designed specifically to promote or celebrate education and career development, it's easy to incorporate fun ways to keep all eyes on the prize.

Bookmark or print the following list of events, compiled by Kuder, to reference all year long!


From the Obvious to the Unexpected: Education and Career Development Observances in 2016

JANUARY

To celebrate mentoring and the positive effect in has on young lives, January was declared National Mentoring Month in 2002. The month-long celebration includes International Mentoring Day (January 17) and Thank Your Mentor Day (January 21). Get involved, show support, access promotional materials, and learn more by visiting the NMM website.

January is also Financial Wellness Month.

Other noteworthy January celebrations and observances include:

  • January 11: The 2016 Youth Media Awards (YMAs) will be announced during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Boston. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the YMAs, which include the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, help students, parents, and educators select relevant and meaningful materials. More information about the YMAs, as well as a link to the live webcast of the event, can be accessed here.
  • January 12: Interested in a career in the medical field? Set some time aside on National Pharmacist Day to research the wide variety of occupations in that field.
  • January 24-30: The last week of January, aka National Get Organized Month, is Clean Out Your Inbox Week. Organization is essential for students and adults alike!
  • January 28: Have Fun at Work Day.

FEBRUARY

February is definitely dedicated to education and career development. The list below highlights only a few of the many things happening during this shortest month of the year.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, sponsored by the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), is an annual campaign to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. The 2016 theme is Opportunities for Career Success, and you can learn all about it here.

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, a time when deadlines are fast approaching for college-bound students to submit the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), and many campuses hold Financial Aid Awareness and FAFSA events throughout the month of February.

It's also Love the Bus Month. Millions of Americans rely on busses to safely get them to and from school. It's the largest and safest transportation system in the country, so how 'bout showing a little thanks to all the drivers out there?  Learn more at the American School Bus Council's website.

African American History Month encourages everyone join in paying tribute to the generations of people who struggled with adversity. Get more insight here.

February 1-5 is National School Counseling Week. Sponsored by American School Counselors Association (ASCA), this week (2016 theme: School Counseling: The Recipe for Success) celebrates the impact school counselors have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. Other noteworthy observances this month include:


MARCH

March, or Women's History Month, presents may opportunities to keep education and careers top-of-mind, including these observances:

  • International Ideas Month — Make the most of your ideas! Tip: Carry a small notebook or install a notetaking app on your phone so you can write down ideas as you have them.
  • Grammar Day (March 4).
  • Celebrate Your Name Week, Teen Tech Week, and Professional Pet Sitters Week (March 6-12).
  • Pi Day (March 14).
  • Freedom of Information Day (March 16).
  • World Storytelling Day (March 20).

APRIL

In addition to being Counseling Awareness Month and Financial Literacy Month, April has some humdingers to celebrate, including poetry, jazz, decorating, and inventors. April offers the chance to explore the wide range of careers for anyone interested in writing, music, and design:

  • It's School Library Month! Be sure to find out if your school's librarian is planning any activities to help your school and community celebrate the essential role that strong library programs play in the educational careers of students.
  • Poetry and the Creative Mind Day (April 1).
  • Army Day (April 6).
  • Earth Day (April 22).
  • Administrative Professionals Day (April 27).
  • Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (April 28).

MAY

In addition to being the only month in 2016 having a Friday the 13th, May is also Military Appreciation Month,  Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, and National Bike Month. May is also the perfect month for anyone interested in bettering themselves and/or others:

  • Executive Coaching Day (May 1).
  • Teacher Appreciation Week and Update Your References Week (May 1-7).
  • National Return to Work Week (May 8 -14).
  • National Etiquette Week (May 9-13).
  • International Coaching Week (May 16-22).
  • Bike to Work Day (May 20).

JUNE

Considering the weather that June usually brings, it's no surprise that it's been deemed Effective Communication MonthGreat Outdoors Month and Rebuild Your Life Month, and  Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing Month. Use the list below to encourage yourself and others to get out and enjoy the world.


JULY

As if being National Picnic Month didn't make it tough to stay focused on one's education or career, July is also National Ice Cream Month. But should you want to focus on something serious in July, here are a few ideas:


AUGUST

With summer coming to an end, it's time to get back into the academic or professional mindset in August, otherwise known as National Truancy Prevention Month or American Artist Appreciation Month. It’s also What Will Be Your Legacy Month. Kick off the month during Simplify Your Life Week (August 1-7) and keep it going with:

  • Work like a Dog Day (August 5).
  • International Lefthanders Day (August 13).
  • National Aviation Day and World Humanitarian Day (August 19).

SEPTEMBER

It's All American Breakfast Month, perfect for those heading back to school! Use the information below to help focus on not only the here and now, but future plans as well.

  • College Savings Month, Backpack Safety Month, and Library Card Month!
  • Bring Your Manners to Work Day (September 2).
  • Read a Book Day (September 6).
  • International Literacy Day  (September 8).
  • International Eat an Apple Day (September 17).
  • International Day of Peace (September 21).

OCTOBER

October — Positive Attitude Month — is the time to think positively and expect great things. Paying attention to the following events and themes may help.

  • National Customer Service Week (October 3 -7).
  • Steve Jobs Day (October 16).
  • Conflict Resolution Day (October 20).
  • Make a Difference Day (October 22).

NOVEMBER

November is National Career Development Month and National Entrepreneurship Month. Get down to business in November by taking time to incorporate the following into your workplace or classroom:

  • World Communication Week (November 1 -7).
  • Job Action Day (November 7).
  • World Kindness Day (November 13).
  • American Education Week (November 14-18).
  • International Education Week (November 14-18).
  • Guinness World Record Day (November 20).
  • Computer Security Day (November 30).

DECEMBER

Get ready for the New Year during National Create a Business Plan Month. If that's not something you're interested in doing, don't worry—December's got all sorts of ideas to help you close out 2016.

  • National Tie Month.
  • Universal Human Rights Month.
  • Giving Tuesday (December 6).
  • Special Education Day (December 2).
  • International Volunteer Day (December 5).

Did we miss a day, week, or month that you celebrate? Let us know! Also check out these links:

About The Author

Stephanie Sherrod is a senior communications specialist for Kuder. Before joining the company in 2015, she spent 15 years as a consultant, writer, and editor for organizations in varying industries, including a major textbook publisher in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a bachelor’s degree in ... read more