Why does it matter?
The YouthTruth Survey question “My school has helped me understand the steps I need to take to have the career that I want” — which students answer on a Likert scale — gets at the heart of how well college and career advisory services embrace and challenge students’ thinking about the possibilities ahead and how to achieve them. It’s important to take students’ interests seriously and incorporate them into planning for the future, while also challenging learners to explore new fields they may not have considered before.
Career Exploration Scavenger Hunt
The following lesson plan has been adapted from GEAR UP (context on GEAR UP can be found here, with the link to the original resource).
- 30-60 min
Step One (5-10 minutes): Introduce the idea of an Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Report. Ask students if they would rather find a job in an occupation that is growing or in an occupation that is shrinking. Why? Then explain that you will spend your lesson today exploring high-growth occupations. Ask students to brainstorm what they think those occupations might be. Start a list that you can check later.
Step Two (5-10 minutes): Review the format of the Fastest-Growing Careers report from careeronestop.org/Toolkit. Distribute a printout of the report to each student or student group, or project it onscreen, or have student groups find it online. Explain that this document summarizes the jobs throughout the country that are expected to grow. Review each section of the report to ensure that students understand what information they can find there. Ask them why jobs that require more educational preparation pay higher salaries. What do they think?
Step Three (15-20 minutes): Have students brainstorm questions that they would be interested in researching on this website. Which careers are particularly interesting, and warrant more research into how to prepare for those roles? Bucket questions into related groups of questions, and assign groups of students to conduct the research and report back on what they find.