From the Office of Career Resources...
What does a child need in order to determine the career that they would like to pursue? Information and personal experience. Over the past several years, Marietta City Schools has developed multiple ways to provide information and increase personal career experiences for students with the support of Building Bridges to Careers and the implementation of Career Technical Education and College Credit Plus.
Providing experiences for students begins in elementary school with the (MC)² Science Collaborative program. The focus of this program is science, and students in all grades experience science through the lens of Marietta College science professors. The magic of chemistry, the wonder of the stars, the vast array of organisms, and the mysterious world of fossils are the highlights of this scientist-in-the-classroom program. The culminating experience of this program is is Meet a Scientist Day, which has the fifth grade class touring Marietta College and learning about the career pathways of multiple professors. In addition, each elementary school has their own unique way of providing information and experiences to students that will help them begin to understand the link between curriculum and careers. Guest speakers that tell their career pathway story, career reports, and career committees are just a few ways that the elementary teachers are making connections.
Marietta Middle School begins to take students beyond career awareness and into career development. There is actually a seven step process for career planning. Becoming aware of the need to make career decisions and learning more about yourself are steps 1 and 2, respectively (Harris-Bowlsbey, Dikel, & Simpson, 2002). It is important to spend time on these two steps before moving on to step 3, identifying possible careers. Step 4: obtain information about possible careers; Step 5: choose a career for deeper exploration; Step 6: Make educational choices (apprenticeships, certifications, 2-year degree, 4-year degree); Step 7: Prepare for a future job (mock interviews, resume writing, soft skill attainment, etc.) Sixth grade students complete a career exploration and research unit, and seventh and eighth grade students take a Career Connections course in two parts. This course has them complete interest inventories, explore various careers, discuss educational pathways available at the high school, interact with guest speakers, and create accounts in the Ohio Means Jobs K-12 Backpack. Many interactions with community adults are provided to increase experiences for the middle school students. Sixth graders have to interview an adult, seventh graders have to be interviewed for a mock position by a local business representative, and Building Bridges to Careers has provided Career Mentors that meet with classes, small groups, and individual students in seventh and eighth grade. The Career Mentor program focuses on developing decision making skills, something which middle school students are in need of. By the end of eighth grade, students have to make decisions about the classes they want to take at the high school. Outside of the required high school core classes, there are many options for students to choose from. How does an eighth grader make wise-decisions about the classes they take for the next four years? With lots of guidance….
Marietta High School (MHS) has embraced the newly revamped College Credit Plus program, expanded the Career Technical Education program, added electives, and coordinated career pathway options based on the 16 Career Clusters. College Credit Plus is the state of Ohio’s program that offers students the chance to receive college credit while still in high school. This can occur on a college campus, online, or at the high school campus and students receive dual credit for the courses, high school credit and college credit. Currently, MHS has eleven teachers with college adjunct status that provide college courses in science, math, English, social studies, business/entrepreneur, music, art, Spanish, leadership, and career exploration for our students. During the 2015-2016 school year students received 1088 college credits on the MHS campus from Marietta College, Stark State College, and Washington State Community College. The Career Technical Education (CTE) program is grounded in pathways around technical skills. MHS has offered Engineering and Agriculture for many years, and added the Business/Entrepreneur CTE pathway this year. Sophomores participate in a required Career Search I course that is also part of a CTE pathway. This pathways includes Career Search II, Leadership, and Health and Wellness. Out of coincidence, MHS is also able to provide a senior-only CTE course. This unique program is available to MHS students because one of our English teachers, Mrs. Mayer, also happens to be certified to teach EMT classes. MHS seniors can now take EMT-Basic as a high school course and become certified upon graduation.
While MCS students receive a lot of information in the realm of careers, it is important to make sure that they also gain personal experience off of the high school campus and in the real world of work. With the support of Building Bridges to Careers, all sophomores complete a required job shadow experience, and are encouraged to job shadow again in later years. Multiple extra-curricular clubs have students complete community service. For the first time in several years, MHS students are beginning to participate in longer term experiences through internships. What can parents do to help with the career development process? Help your child find information about careers, learn what pathway needs followed to get into a career of interest, and encourage them to job shadow someone in the field.