Tools and programs to improve career navigation

Graduation is right around the corner. Undecided students can benefit from these career navigational tools and programs.

Across Michigan, more than 112,000 students will be graduating high school this year. They will each be faced with important future decisions about education, training and employment. Many youth in their senior year are still not sure what they want to do after high school. School counselors are often faced with large caseloads, scheduling obligations and crisis management that little time is left to assist students in career exploration. According to a recent report, “Getting to Work” written by The Center for Michigan, the public believes Michigan’s career navigation and counseling systems do not meet the needs of today’s students.

If you are a young person who finds yourself in this confusing career climate, first of all don’t despair because you are definitely not alone. According to the community conversation and poll respondents, 70 percent said high school and college students need more help figuring out how to the get the skills they need to eventually prosper. On the bright side, there are a number of tools and programs to help you explore careers without a lot of financial investment.

MIBrightFuture was created to address the long-term workforce needs in Michigan, especially in high-demand occupations, by supporting the development of an informed, educated, skilled and experienced talent pipeline. Through e-mentoring, message boards and company profiles, this technology connects what’s happening in today’s classroom with current and projected needs among local employers. Young people can interact directly with local professionals and ask career questions, learn about local businesses through their company profiles and job opportunities. Youth can gain experience in careers of interest first-hand by searching for job shadowing opportunities, mock interviews, company tours, company events and internships offered by employers in their area.

Build Your Future: Choices, Connections, Careers curriculum, written by Michigan State University Extension educators, includes a facilitator guide and a youth journal. These combined resources provide tools to help youth develop skills and knowledge in career exploration with the assistance of an adult facilitator. Through fun, interactive learning experiences, youth learn about their interests, research careers, gain employability skills, discover post-secondary options and develop career goals.

Spartan Youth Programs, provided through MSU, offers a wide range of exciting opportunities for youth to improve their knowledge and skills in specific subject areas. Programs are available to serve all age ranges from pre-kindergarten to high school. With well over 200 different programs covering topics in agriculture, art, business, computers, engineering, math, music, science, sports, study abroad and writing, MSU is sure to have a program for every student.

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