Linking career exploration and 4-H youth development

An important part of 4-H is to encourage youth to engage in career exploration; explore ten tips to encourage this behavior in youth.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development provides a venue for exploring careers through many 4-H projects, activities and events. The process of career exploration helps a person identify the training and qualifications for a job or career path reflective of one’s individual interests, skills and abilities.

Just as 4-H Youth Development groups similar projects together into categories, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has identified sixteen Career Clusters based on similar skills and job attributes. Michigan has adopted the sixteen Career Clusters for Career and Technical Education.

The sixteen Career Clusters are:

  • Agriculture, food and natural resources
  • Architecture and construction
  • Arts, A/V technology and communications
  • Business management and administration
  • Education and training
  • Finance
  • Government and public administration
  • Health science
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Human services
  • Information technology
  • Law, public safety, corrections and security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Transportation, distribution and logistics

On a poster resource from the Michigan Department of Education website, there are a variety of tips for parents to help their children with career exploration. In 4-H language, many of these tips are applicable for 4-H volunteers and staff to encourage and foster with 4-H members:

  1. Encourage 4-H members to go to school with a positive attitude every day
  2. Provide 4-H community service opportunities that include time to “do,” “reflect” and “apply”
  3. Share your own job and career experiences with 4-H members
  4. Adopt Career Clusters terminology to help 4-H members make connections between what they see and hear about jobs and careers through 4-H, the community and school
  5. Help 4-H members identify their skills and interests
  6. Talk about jobs and careers related to 4-H projects and experiences
  7. Incorporate guest speakers and fieldtrips as a part of 4-H that link project experiences to jobs and careers
  8. Suggest that 4-H members research jobs and careers as a part of their 4-H project(s)
  9. Encourage 4-H members to volunteer or job shadow with someone that has a job or career of interest
  10. Ask 4-H members about their Educational Development Plan as a way of finding out their interests

Regardless of project area and interest, Michigan 4-H Youth Development can assist young people in exploring careers and choosing a career path. Check out some of our resources under programs and follow the link to careers.

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