4-H helps participants prepare for their futures and the world of work

4-H career exploration and workforce preparation programming reaches 19,393 participants in 2018.

Girls shaking hands
Youth participants during a Teen Spokesperson Training in Oakland County. Photo by MSU Extension.

Michigan State University Extension helps children, youth and the adults who support them thrive in a complex and changing world. The overall goal of the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program is to provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for participants ages 5-19 to experience life skills, practice them until they are learned and be able to apply them as necessary throughout a lifetime.

Career exploration and workforce preparation programming reached 19,393 participants; 18,228 youth and 1,165 adults. Programming reached individuals in 76 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Lessons, workshops and events were taught covering the areas of entrepreneurship education, financial literacy/money management, career exploration and workforce preparation.  

Youth were engaged in workshops, programs, events and in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities about how to present yourself, team building, how to create a resume or portfolio, the importance or art of networking, SMART goals and goal-setting, cover letters and a good business handshake, dressing for success, interview and job search skills, including completing job and scholarship applications, apprenticeship opportunities, and mock interview experiences as well as the importance of follow-up with thank you notes. In addition, some programs included teaching adults and youth about options for funding post-secondary education.  

Girl riding a tractor
Youth participant during the "Working Safely on the Farm" session offered at 4-H Exploration Days. Photo by MSU Extension.

As a result of participating in a career exploration and workforce preparation program, those surveyed indicated the following:

  • 95% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they know how to effectively market themselves to others.
  • 91% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they can identify resources to assist them in preparing for the workforce.
  • 99% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they are aware of qualities needed to be successful in a job or career.
  • 97% of participants agreed or strongly agreed to use the skills learned when pursuing educational or professional opportunities.

Additionally, participants shared:

  • “This program has given me a guideline for what to expect as an adult. This has helped me learn how to apply and go for a job.”
  • “I know more clearly what a good resume looks like and it is always good to practice problem solving, teamwork, and management.”
  • “It will help me in future job interviews and help me make better resumes.”
  • As a result of this training, “I will include more career discussion in our meetings.”

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures.  As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, email us at 4-HCareerPrep@anr.msu.edu.

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