Build your future: Choices…Connections…Careers

New national 4-H curriculum provides career exploration and workforce preparation lessons.

4-H Youth Development staff and volunteers have been helping 4-H members and youth audiences make connections between their experiences, skills and career interests for years. When corn and canning clubs were initiated in 1902 to encourage youth to learn skills, build competencies and set goals for their future, young people were participating in career exploration and development. Volunteers teach skills to youth through projects, but sometimes need assistance with how to connect the projects with life skills and the purpose of projects for future implications. A new national 4-H curriculum will help make this connection.

The National 4-H Curriculum, Build Your Future: Choices…Connections…Careers, is aligned with the Youth Development Mission Mandate and supports the Leadership and Personal Development area. Build Your Future is a research-based curriculum which consists of nine educational activities intended for use with young people 14 to 19 years of age. While it is encouraged to be taught in its entirety, Build Your Future is flexible enough to be used as stand-alone lessons that focus on skill identification, career exploration including entrepreneurship, financing careers and educational training, and workforce preparation.  Each lesson is aligned with national career-technical education standards.

Build Your Future has been written by a team of Michigan State University Extension educators responsible for Career Exploration and Workforce Preparation in the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute. In addition to being piloted in Michigan, Build Your Future passed both a Michigan and the national peer-review process and is now available through National 4-H Council.

Using identified learner outcomes and success indicators, volunteer facilitators can easily lead fun, interactive learning experiences. Participants experience a variety of learning methods such as developing a business plan, competing in a quiz bowl, creating a portfolio, analyzing case studies and discussing questions that reflect on their experiences. Most activities range from 30 to 90 minutes in length and include accompanying handouts and ideas for additional learning. Two lessons even have online learning options. The curriculum comes complete with an evaluation and certificate of completion for participants.

Take advantage and add Build Your Future to your educational resources!

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