Throughout February, NYC public schools are celebrating Career Exploration Month, the DOE’s citywide effort to help middle and high school students identify their career-related interests and learn how to pursue them.
By 2020, 65% of all jobs in the U.S. will require postsecondary education or training. This means that the people who will be in the best position to make the most out of tomorrow’s employment options will be those who know what they want to do, career-wise, and have obtained the education and training they need for success in their chosen paths.
Because we want all of our students to have the most options available to them once they graduate from high school, we firmly believe that having conversations with students about their career interests now can help them begin planning for their futures. Thankfully, there are many resources available today that can help students to begin identifying their vocations.
The following websites are great examples of resources that can help students understand how people actually progress in their careers:
- The CUNY Center for Urban Research’s Career Maps Page
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s My Next Move Page
It is also important for students to have an understanding of what jobs will be in demand once they are ready to start seeking employment. U.S. News and World Reports has a great “100 Best Jobs” list that students can reference when trying to narrow down their career interests.
Another way for students to start identifying their future careers is for them to obtain direct experience through internships, summer employment opportunities, afterschool programs, and community service. Here are a few online resources that can help students discover and obtain these valuable experiences:
- New York’s Summer Youth Employment Program
- Ladders for Leaders
- The Morning Bell’s “Internships” Category Page (updated often)
Lastly, we recommend that students, starting in middle school, begin talking to school counselors about career awareness, exploration, and other activities and resources available at their schools. Students can begin these conversations by talking about their strengths and talents as a means to identify their career interests. While students may later change their minds about their interests, these conversations will at least help them understand that they need to think seriously about their futures.
We hope these suggestions can help City families and students narrow down their career interests. If you have other suggestions, let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned to The Morning Bell for internship opportunities and other Career Exploration Month-related posts!