Schools are heling students plan for future careers at early ages, with some Academic career plans beginning in Kindergarten.
Career readiness is a goal that many educators are seeking for their students. While some children know what they want to be when they grow up from a young age, not everyone has that inspiration. Now some schools are requiring academic career plans for students, and this planning sometimes begins as early as kindergarten.
Ensuring that age-appropriate lessons and goals are set for children is a must. As schools focus more on helping students create academic career plans, this does not mean that five and six-year-old students are forced into job fairs. In early education, teachers offer encouragement and are being directed to help nudge students to explore their interests and link those to future options.
Then as students grow closer to middle school, academic career plans begin to hold more weight. In Colorado, students have begun preparing for their career options as early as the fifth grade. They learn how to manage their time, their behavior, and begin learning about money management. In addition, students are required to take “Adulting 101” classes which teach students life skills like how to fix a car and what filling out tax forms looks like.
In Wisconsin, academic career plans are required for students in the sixth through twelfth grades. This exposes young teens to job fairs, field trips about different career paths, and apprenticeship opportunities. Students are also assigned essay projects where they explore their choices and support the fields they are considering with a sound understanding of what tasks and pay rates entail.
While some students will be able to afford expensive college degree programs, many cannot. Exploring alternative options like trades and on-the-job training programs gives them the benefit of choosing what works best for them before they graduate and are forced to make quick decisions without fully understanding the long-term implications. These academic career plans are designed to offer understanding through discovery.
This approach is supported and promoted by the Coalition for Career Development Center. This resource has been working to provide “cross-sector collaborations” that engage various business branches in career readiness programs for students. Academic career plans are a core element of the organization’s success plan, along with career advising, work-based learning, proper technological communications, as well as accountability.
It has been noted that the more students engage in conversations about career paths, the more likely they are to succeed later in life. By focusing on academic career plans, schools are helping children discover their potential. So far, 21 states require these plans and at least 38 states offer them.
With so much support for academic career plans, educators and business leaders are hoping to guide generations of workers to make smart choices for their future. These plans utilize everything from meaningful conversations about students’ interests to career fairs and apprenticeships. These options teach children the value of work and the importance of choosing a career path that fits their individualized needs and interests. This approach has already begun leading high school graduates to discover their earning potential and is likely to aid others in their post-graduate pursuits.