Challenging Resources For Your Students That Will Aid Career Development

Overview and Features of Elementary/ Middle School Career Development Models

Counselors and teachers know that the elementary/ middle school development is important. Schooling is a time of transition, a threshold to the student’s future, and a bridge into the student’s destiny. In elementary/ middle school, career development is a time to build career awareness, not a time for premature career choices or career preparations. Career development is an ongoing lifelong process. During the career development process, students remain open to new career ideas and possibilities. Counselors and teachers build readiness for future career planning. Students build visions of what they desire to do in their lives as they contribute to the society.

Need for Elementary/ Middle school Career Development

Since most elementary and middle school students have limited understanding of how school relates to work, students use career development curriculum to build a foundation and the connection between career development, Twenty-First Century Skills, school academic subjects, potential careers, and future training options. As a result, students build self – awareness, possess intrinsic motivation, build a positive self-concept, and begin problem solving about career choices.

Benefits of Elementary/ Middle School Career Development

Elementary/ middle school career awareness lays the groundwork for future career exploration by helping students achieve the following goals:

Knowledge of personal characteristics, interests, aptitudes, and skills
Awareness of and respect for the diversity of the world of work
Understanding of the relationship between school performance and future choices
Development of a positive attitude toward work

Students who complete career development activities have the following positive outcomes:

Expanded understanding of the world of work leading to an openness to an increased number potential careers
Improved skills to make informed decisions and complex career information problem solving
Enhanced academic, personal, and teamwork skill development
Amplified career awareness, self-esteem, sense of direction, motivation to persist, clearly defined goals

Eventually, as students participate in career curriculum programs, the number of dropouts is minimized.

Elementary/ Middle School Career Education Models

There are 4 major career development models:

National Career Development Guidelines
21st Century Skills
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program

National Career Development Guidelines

The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) determine career development knowledge, skills, and decision-making processes. The NCDG Guidelines have three domains, goals, and mastery indicators.

The three domains are:

Personal Social Development (PS)
Educational Achievement and Lifelong Learning (ED)
Career Management (CM)

The learning competency stages are:

Knowledge Acquisition (K). Students at the knowledge acquisition stage expand knowledge awareness and build comprehension. They recall, recognize, describe, identify, clarify, discuss, explain, summarize, query, investigate and compile new information about the knowledge.
Application (A). Students at the application stage apply acquire knowledge to situations and to self. They seek out ways to use the knowledge. For example, they demonstrate, employ, perform, illustrate and solve problems related to the knowledge.
Reflection (R). Students at the reflection stage analyze, synthesize, judge, assess and evaluate knowledge in accord with their own goals, values and beliefs. They decide whether or not to integrate the acquired knowledge into their ongoing response to situations and adjust their behavior accordingly.

An example of the Personal Social Development domain is:

PS1.K2 Identify your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents.
PS1.A2 Demonstrate use of your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents.
PS1.R2 Assess the impact of your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents on your career development.

21st Century Skills Model

The 21st Century Model and Skills is the collaboration of the efforts of education, business, and government organizations. These organizations create a 21st Century Learning Framework that outlines the essential learning, innovation, technology, and career skills necessary to be successful in the today’s workplace. A rich, well-designed learning environment promotes creating, applying, remembering, analyzing, understanding, and evaluating processes. The 21st Century Model seeks the development of knowledge, skills, motivations, values, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, health, safety, resilience, and other qualities.

The three major 21st Century Model main skill areas are:

Learning and innovation
Digital literacy skills
Career and life skills

Within the Career and Life Skills area, the focus is on:

Flexibility and adaptability
Initiative and self – direction
Social and cross-cultural interaction
Productivity and accountability
Leadership and responsibility

New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards

The New Jersey Department of Education Content Standards connect the 21st Century Model and elementary/ middle school career awareness.

In K-5 grades, students learn the interrelationship between 21st Century life skills and personal, academic, and social development. Curriculum areas range from career awareness information and to basic personal financial literacy skills.
The development of 21st Century life skills and personal financial literacy continues in the grades 6-8. Students explore careers, academic and personal interests and aptitudes.

The New Jersey Department of Education has four career education standards:

Standards 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3 cover life and career skills within the K-12 curriculum.
Standard 9.4 includes specialized, career and technical education program skills in grades 9-12 curriculum.

These standards cover the following areas:

Career Awareness (grades K-4)
Career Exploration (grades 5-8)
Career Preparation (grades 9-12)

An example of one of the objectives is:

Standard 9.3 – Apply knowledge about and engage in the process of career awareness, exploration, and preparation in order to navigate the globally competitive work environment of the information age.

Examples of Standard 9.3 are:

9.3.4.A.4 Identify qualifications needed to pursue traditional and nontraditional careers and occupations.
9.3.4.A.5 Locate career information using a variety of resources
9.3.4.A.6 Explain why knowledge and skills acquired in the elementary grades lay the foundation for the future academic and career success

Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program

The Missouri Center for Career Education (MCCE) is a career and technical education curriculum, research, professional development, and innovative instructional resource center.

The Missouri Center for Career Education (MCCE) Guidance Lessons (Strands) are:

Academic Development
Career Development
Personal and Social Development

Within each Strand CD: Career Development area, the Big Ideas are:

Big Idea: CD.7. Applying Career Exploration and Planning Skills in the Achievement of Life Career Goals
Big Idea: CD 8. Knowing Where and How to Obtain Information about the World of Work and Post-secondary Training/Education
Big Idea: CD.9. Applying Employment Readiness Skills and the Skills for On-The-Job Success

The Big Ideas serve as the foundation for building curriculum concepts and behavioral objectives.

Examples of CD.7 Big Idea are:

Compare interests and strengths with those of workers in the global community.
Describe occupational changes that have occurred over time within the six (6) career paths.
Describe the self-satisfaction that comes from completing a work responsibility.

Tips for Finding the Right Elementary/ Middle School Career Development Program

Based upon the National Career Development Guidelines, 21st Century Skills, New Jersey Department of Education Content Standards, and Missouri Center for Career Education (MCCE), the key elements of career curriculum provide information on the relationship between job interests, key characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities, and related careers.

Teachers and counselors know that students:

Are curious
Love colorful, multimedia presentations
Use colors to improve attention span, concentration, memory skills, and understanding
Use their senses and imaginations in career exploration

Counselors and teachers utilize career awareness programs to help students:

Discover career interests
Build awareness of career interests, abilities, skills, and values
Search for meaning, purpose, and direction
Discover potential careers that are linked to children’s identified interests
Understand the relationship between education, training, and specific occupations
Search for tools that will help students plan for the future and unlock their potentials
Clarify thoughts, integrate new knowledge, and promote critical thinking
Receive new information so that the concepts are more thoroughly and easily understood
Hold attention and absorb information

Elementary/ middle development curriculum includes career tests, assessments, games, web sites, and books. Programs should be fun, educational, and not boring. Career development program are:

Eye appealing
Easy to use
Full of resources
Suitable for your students’ needs

An effective career education tool motivates your students to explore careers. Creative career tools build a foundation for more detailed career exploration. Career development lessons should answer the question “Who am I?” and “What should I do as an adult?”

With the right resource, students are ready and willing to:

Ask questions
Enjoy discovering who they are
Gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding

Steps to Select the Right Elementary/ Middle School Career Development Program

How do you choose the right career awareness program? Look at 3 major areas:


When you look at a career education curriculum, ask yourself the following questions:

What do your students prefer?
What is your budget for the curriculum?
What resources do you have? Do you have a computer lab?

Then, follow these steps:

Select an elementary/ middle school career awareness program that your students are interested in and that provides valuable information about careers and your student’s interests.
Look for career development lessons that use well-known career models.

As students grow older, the students will continue to use career models to eventually expand their knowledge of self, careers and college majors.

In summary, when they use career education curriculum, students:

Learn and apply the academic material
Know and value self
Build self-esteem and confidence
Identify interests and build relationships between the school environment and the work force
Incorporate academic career pathways into classroom activities
Build academic, communication, problem solving, and social skills
Increase awareness of the need for future jobs skills
See the connections between learning in school, academic skills, job related skills, and careers
See career possibilities
See themselves as a future contributor to the job force
Receive empowerment
Build self-determination

As a result of completing the career development lessons, students have:

Higher grades
Higher academic achievement
Improved school involvement
Increase in career awareness exploration, personal, and interpersonal skills

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Career Development Planning: Keys to Career Success

Career Development Planning: keys to finding and qualifying for the right job for overall career success.

Career development planning is the key to advancement and is a measure of tracking the progress of your career. Also, it is a dependable method to study your overall personal goals and the steps taken as your accomplishments move you toward the right career.

Keys to a well thought out career development plan: The plan is a work in progress. As you move up one step there is another in front of you. You build in flexibility, one door may close but with continued career related research another soon opens. Your career development plan is not focused exclusively on your work but on your career, its direction and your interests and passion.

As you career plan evolves so does your resume. Keep it up dated through a file in which you keep a record of achievements, training, projects completed, new skills, promotions, performance reviews and positive letters and memos.

Begin keeping a file on job announcements in your career and any career in which you have an interest. Even if employed this is a good tip as you can identify where new qualifications are required allowing you to get the additional training and experience.

In the course of writing out your career development plan spend some time on exactly what your overall job objectives are. Both short and long-term and what you see yourself doing. Are there any obstacles you have to overcome? How is your development plan going to help you qualify for your next career or update your current position?

To make your career development plan work for you there are several personal planning steps that it would be productive to consider:

1. Research the proposed career. Use informational interviews to talk to those already working in the career. Attend workshops and seminars and area conferences. Build your network of like minded people. Work to determine what skills, education and experience are required to qualify for the position.
2. If your career direction is not firmly fixed, pick the top two or three and keep researching until a number one comes into focus. Don’t worry if you reject a career that at first seemed so promising, this is progress and it’s just as important to find out what you don’t want as what you look at favorably.
3. If you are planning a career change analyze closely what qualifications are required. Identify your transferable skills, and build a step by step plan to become qualified. In-line learning, self-study and mentoring can go a long way to become qualified in many required skills.
4. Add financial planning to your career development plan. If changing careers requires a reduced level of income, take that into consideration in your overall planning. Reduce overall debt to increase your options and reduce stress.

In any career development plan you have a series of long-term objectives, for example: reading books appropriate to your career, leadership, team building and project management are just a few subjects to consider. If you want to move to another area, you may want to vacation there first.

If you are looking at a career in another industry, research and study of the industry is in order. What are the overall prospects to the industry and the proposed career?

In summary, career development planning is a work in progress, and a valuable partner to growing your career based skills and qualifications. All of which should allow you to discover opportunities that match you career objectives.

Career Change and Career Development Beyond 50

Career change and career development beyond 50-is now the time to get started?

Career change beyond 50 and career success are closely allied to career development. If you are planning a change careers after 50 you should know that to get ahead of your younger competition you have to work hard at your plan and develop your skills and abilities to qualify for your proposed new job.

Once you start building your career change plan it is important to identify your employment objectives and how you plan on achieving it. It is not good to write out a career development plan and then put it in the drawer never to see the light of day and expect magic to happen.

The development of your plan and its success rests with you. No one else can acquire the needed skills, qualifications and experience unique to you so you can qualify for your dream career.

Here are some things to consider as you work in developing your unfolding career plan:

1. If you are ready for the daily, weekly and monthly effort necessary to make you career change development a reality; take the plunge.
2. A written career plan is a must. When your plan is written you can see daily what you need to accomplish. As you develop you skills and acquire additional qualifications you can judge your progress against the written career plan.
3. You should build your career plan as you uncover new information, change direction when necessary and be willing to give up on unpromising ideas and directions.
4. Your career change plan should contain daily, weekly and monthly components. Judge your progress against these benchmarks, adjust as appropriate.
5. In any career plan you must take a critical look at your skills, abilities, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Build the plan to develop your strengths, shore up you weak points and expand your interests and knowledge.
6. Career growth requires a daily effort practiced over a long period of time. This daily effort and its cumulative positive effect on your career and your future will move you toward your career and life goals.
7. A positive attitude is everything in working at developing your plan to change careers. Plan to read motivational books, attend positive meetings and conferences, learn to associate with positive people, listen to positive CD’s as you drive: all will have a big impact on your ongoing career development.
8. Have patience as you move forward in your career development. All good things take time, time to build good habits, time for the new skills to become practiced, time to build relationships, time to acquire experience and qualifications but in the end your journey will lead you to your dream career.

Three Strategies for Employee Career Development

Are you presently at loss as to how to go about developing the strategies you can use for your career development? Are you one of those employees feeling trapped and unappreciated in your organization? Do you no longer derive any sense of meaning or purpose from what you do for a living? We in the human resource practice have often observed and counseled, questioned and even helped employees in this kind of situation with requisite career advice. It is therefore for this reason that human resource practitioners have come up with career development strategies that should assist employees in their career planning and growth. These strategies when utilized bring about greater employee self-awareness. Further it brings about clearer view of workers long-term goals. The main objective in this article is to highlight the strategies for employee career development that can propel smart workers in whatever career they might have chosen in their life.

What are those career development strategies that any employee should utilize to survive in this information age? How should a worker desirous of choosing a career that enables him live a happy and full life go about doing so? Detailed below are these strategies.

· Discovery of your primary aim: The first strategy for any employee is to identify the primary purpose in life. By this is meant a picture of the kind of life you wish to live. What is it that you want to be most in the world? What is it that you love doing most and will not tire even if you continue doing it forever? You need to ask yourself questions to enable you find answers to how to discover your primary aim. Without asking relevant questions you cannot get answers. I had always wanted to be a writer. Though I started late, but I am doing what I always wanted to do which is writing. This I do through dissemination of information on human relations practice and blogging. I achieved this by asking myself questions to discover the answers. What is your own vision? What is your primary purpose in life? Your purpose or your vision in a period of time. Your purpose or vision is a continuous thing. It is something that shapes your life and it is a life time process. An employee who has not done this will only accept whatever career that is thrust upon her. She will never be happy in whatever career she might have chosen. Your career is your life. It determines how you want to live your life. You therefore need to have a picture of what you want your life to be like (your vision) and this will guide you into your choice of career. Primary aim helps your awareness about yourself. It helps you to get clear about certain truths about yourself and how you should live your life.

· Creation of Standards:This is another strategy for career development any smart employee must utilize in the 21st century. By standard is meant benchmarks to measure your performance against. Without a clearly defined vision of your life, you will have no standards by which you can evaluate your role in whatever career you have chosen nor any criteria with which to gauge and measure whether you are in the right career (or considering to pursue one) which will work for you. No matter your primary aim, if the career you have chosen or intend to pursue does not mesh with your vision you can never be happy. That is where standards come in. The only way by which you could evaluate yourself therefore is by looking at where you are in your career (work, time, money, culture, relationships) and measuring it against the picture of who you wish to be. It is therefore based on these benchmarks/standards that decisions and choices concerning your career should be made. This you do by envisioning model(s) which will then serve as your measuring rod. A model is the prototype of the kind of life you wish to live. You will create rules by which you will live your life. The rules and the standards should go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

· Identification of your passions, interests, skills, abilities and experience:Another key career development strategy for a smart employee is the identification of your main passions, skills, interests and abilities. You need to ask questions. What are those things that you love doing? For example writing, speaking, helping others etc. What are those innate skills that you possess or have acquired in life that distinguish you from other human beings? For example interpersonal skill, management, communication, IT, organization etc. What are those talents that you possess or have acquired that distinguish you from other employees? The experiences you have acquired over time that makes you different. No two individuals are created the same. We are all created differently. Identification of these key attributes will therefore assist you in your career development. This when married with your primary aim helps in your career development.

Identification of primary purpose or aim is however a process. The bid to envision your life is a journey. It is during the journey that you will identify your skills, passion, talents, interests and experiences that are compatible with your vision in life. You should therefore be alive and aware as they are being identified. They are the attributes that will help you in developing your career and consequently in shaping your life. If your purpose is to be a writer, what are those skills, interests, passions and experiences you need to acquire to be one? To be a writer, you need to love writing. You need to love reading and acquiring knowledge. You need be observant. Your communication skill must be exceptional.

From the foregoing therefore, the application of these three strategies for career development will assist a smart employee in making the best out of his chosen career. These strategies are to assist the employee in reinventing his life such that he will live it the way he wanted. Just as it is beneficial to a job seeker who is already gainfully employed, it is equally beneficial to one who is still searching. The strategies when utilized will guide you in your career path. Having identified your primary aim, created your vision and in the process identified your passion, interests, skills and experience, you will be able to identify the best career you will be suited and consequently work on it. Having worked on your career you will be able to work on your life because your career will ultimately affect your life.

As an experienced human relations practitioner, I can safely advice that the application of these three strategies by any employee will enable him in building a career in a matching organization or with a matching employer. Working in such a satisfactory organization brings about job satisfaction and job enrichment and consequently a fulfilled life which is the ultimate goal of every smart employee.