Teaching young people about career exploration

4-H Exploration Days sessions teach self-assessment and career research tools from the National 4-H Build Your Future curriculum.

Each year about 2500 adolescents, staff and volunteers attend Michigan State University for a 3-day pre-college program. That is a lot of folks to keep track of and make sure that they all have a worthwhile experience. I have found my niche in teaching two educational sessions, one that is called Touch the Future Career Fair.

On June 18-19, 2014, I taught 15 young people from 12 Michigan counties using pieces of the national 4-H Build Your Future curriculum. This session provided five hours of educational programming that started with pondering the easy to answer question – what are you going to do after high school? It included learning about

careers that match one’s interests, skills and values; explored different career pathways and taught young people how to enter the field of their dreams through career assessments, research and talking one-on-one with a wide range of professionals to find out what a variety of careers were really like as they plan for their future.

The self-assessment tool from lesson one of “Build Your Future – Skills… Choices… Careers,” was used to help young people get to know themselves related to career pathways. It showed them a way to capture their interests, qualities, free time and school activities, and values; related to fields of work. Based on their scores, participants then identified jobs and career paths that they were willing to explore further.

Next, we used the “careers research worksheet” from lesson two of” Build Your Future – Making Career Connections.” The careers research worksheet allowed participants to search reputable online sights to glean details of jobs and career paths of their interest. Some of the job/career characteristics that they were able to explore included:

  • Specifics of what a person in “X,Y,Z” career did from day-to-day
  • Education or training required for the career
  • Salary and wage information
  • Locations of job postings currently available
  • Benefits related to the career or job of interest

Explore the many resources and valuable lessons of Build Your Future. This curriculum is adaptable to a wide range of venues, audiences; and it is fun to use! For more information about career preparation resources available, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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