Opening Career Options for All Students

Article excerpt

Looking for some direction on career guidance programs? Here are four national models with some useful ideas.

IN THIS REPORT

Four programs in Texas have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Research in Vocational Education as exemplary career guidance and counseling programs. In the following article, Sylvia Clark discusses their outstanding practices.

Kathy Jo Elliott, field editor of this Insider, is tech prep/student resource center coordinator at Green Country Area Vo-Tech School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

The nationwide search for exemplary career guidance and counseling programs conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Research in Vocational Education recognized four programs in Texas: Garland and Katy school districts in 1995 and Birdville school district and Houston's Shared Counselor Partnership program at North Harris College in 1996. Using the state's recommended K-12 guidance program, these programs provide a strong career development component to ensure that every student's educational experiences meet academic and career goals.

Early in 1991, Texas identified seven career pathways for use as a guidance tool to help students and their parents develop graduation plans. The plans are designed to prepare students for the working world or further education upon high school graduation.

Career and technology education state directors identified the following career pathways: agricultural science and technology; art, communications and media technology; business and marketing; health science technology; human development, management and services; industrial and engineering technology; and personal and protective services. School districts may identify their own pathways as long as they are broad enough to teach all aspects of the given industry but not so broad as to replicate general education.

The seven pathways are broad areas of study that are flexible and overlapping, which allows students to move in many directions within the pathway as new knowledge and experiences affect career interests. The flexibility of the pathways allows for adaptation to the changing needs of the world they are about to enter.

Pathways increase a student's options and provide a focus and relevance to education that is often missing in the "shopping mall" style of course selection so common to U. …

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