Making the 4-H career connection

4-H experience can play a vital part in helping shape future career goals.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development serves more than 200,000 young people between the ages of five and 19 annually, making it the largest youth organization in the state. 4-H focuses on exploration, discovery and endless opportunities to build skills, make connections and find what youth are passionate about. Your 4-H experience can play a vital part in helping shape your future career goals.

Youth in 4-H clubs can ask themselves a few questions to help them identify potential career opportunities. Start by asking:

  • What projects or activities excite or interest me?
  • What projects or activities am I good at?
  • Are there skills I want to develop?
  • Are there topics or projects I want to learn more about?
  • What projects or activities don’t I enjoy doing?
  • What motivates me? What am I passionate about?
  • What do I value? What is important to me? Money? Friends? Prestige? Helping others?
  • What is my personality type?

Youth may want to get assistance from caring adults such as parents, 4-H leaders, Extension educators, teachers and coaches in their lives answering the next few questions.

  • What careers are related to projects or activities I enjoy?
  • How and where can I find out more information about a career interest?
  • Who can I talk to or job shadow in my career interest area?
  • Is there a volunteer or internship opportunity related to my career interests?

Volunteers and 4-H clubs leaders can help youth gain greater career awareness and knowledge by implementing some fun activities:

  • Ask a company if your club can tour their facilities.
  • Visit a post-educational facility such as a college or trade school.
  • Coordinate mock interviews with other members or 4-H volunteers.
  • Encourage youth to complete their personal record book or specific project books in their areas of interest.
  • Have the youth research a career of interest and present the information to the club.
  • Invite speakers from employers who hire young people to present information on preparing for employment at their business.
  • Contact a college representative to speak about admissions, financial aid and scholarships.
  • Practice your business handshake and develop a professional pitch.
  • Conduct a career assessment to find out your interests, skills and values.
  • Create a resume and portfolio.
  • Encourage youth to apply for county or Michigan 4-H State Awards.

Michigan State University Extension offers clubs, programs and many volunteer opportunities you can utilize to expand your network, gain skills, increase your knowledge and uncover your next career.Additional resources, articles and curriculum for making the 4-H career connection can be found on the Michigan 4-H website.

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