Career Exploration: An easy introduction to any youth session

Incorporate career exploration through a simple career matching activity.

Infusing career education into your youth program can be a simple yet effective way for youth to begin to look at what their interests and strengths are and consider options for future career paths.

Michigan State University Exension 4-H Youth Development has many resources to help you incorporate career education into your time spent with young people.

A simple and quick method for exploring careers is through a career matching activity. Using information from the United States Department of Labor, create sheets of paper with a career on one sheet and the basic description of the career on a separate sheet. In your meeting or session, distribute the sheets and invite youth to find the person with the matching career or description. Make sure you keep an answer key handy to double check the pairings.

Once youth find their pair, encourage a discussion between the pairs around questions such as:

  • Have you heard of this career before?
  • What was new to you about this career choice?
  • What interests you in this career?
  • What does not interest you in this career?

Have youth tape their career pairs to the wall or to a display board. During the rest of the meeting, these can be viewed and allow youth to learn about additional career paths.

This is a great activity to create partners before a longer activity. The careers on the sheets can also be focused on a particular career pathway such as the arts, science, or human service fields.

Michigan State University Extension has many additional articles to help adults learn more about career preparation for youth participants.

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