Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

Goals (from the legislative charge):

To better inform students about career options, occupational trends, and educational paths leading to viable and rewarding careers and reduce the gap.

In consultation with a student's family, develop and periodically adapt, as needed, an education and work plan for each student aligned with the student's personal and professional interests, abilities, skills, and aspirations;

Related recommendations from Task Force members:

1. Strengthen the ability of families, including families of youth with disabilities, multicultural families, and families facing socio-economic challenges, to access information on career and technical education and postsecondary programs so they may help their youth make informed educational decisions.

2. Create virtual county school districts throughout the state to address the following needs of students:

a. Comprehensive counseling services both academic and social/emotional including career planning,

3. In order to enhance the effectiveness of the Individualized Life Plan (ILP) process, school districts must create a plan to ensure that:

a. All middle school students understand Minnesota’s six career fields and identify possible interests within these by the end of 8th grade.

b. All high school students understand Minnesota’s sixteen career clusters and participate in experiences each year which allow for further exploration and reflection of interests and skills within these.

c. All seniors identify a career pathway which matches skills and interests and have mapped out a post-secondary plan for moving through this pathway prior to graduation.

4. Each Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Workforce Service Area (WSA) receives funding for the equivalent of one FTE position which works closely with their regional Perkins Consortia to act as a Regional Guidance Coordinator.

5. All high school students participate in a least one community-based experiential learning experience annually, starting in 9th grade, which assists them in their ILP/ career development process.

6. Assist school districts in designing their Individualized Life Plan process by outlining the specific attitudes, knowledge and skills that students should be able to demonstrate as a result of participating in the ILP process. Consider the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Standards for Students, the National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) Framework, and other frameworks for developing a recommended logic model for ILP implementation that identifies career development activities and age-appropriate benchmarks.

7. Develop and implement a systematic, consistent, developmental and age appropriate, integrated career education curriculum K-12 (using National Career Development Guidelines and Guidance and Counseling Standards); learning which is accessible to all learners which includes practical application activities and incorporates the use of an electronic tool and provides resources for students/parents/educator-advisors-mentors.

8. Implement the use of individualized learning plans for K-12 students to blend academic achievement and career development with student aspirations/dreams/goals. Student Plans should be revisited at minimum, annually.

9. Require the development and use of an electronic portfolio for each student, K-12 that is transportable beyond high school.

10. Provide ongoing career assessment/surveys for students in grades 5-12 and improve the use of the results of the assessment in designing more individualized learning opportunities for students.

11. Implement Advisory Programs in schools beginning no later than grade 6. Provide staff development for educators for successful implementation. Advisory programs should host learning activities that help students to develop 21st century skills/generally desired employability skills/leadership skills/volunteerism and citizenship skills. (i.e. general academic knowledge in core areas, skills in problem solving and decision-making, critical and creative thinking, communication, and create learners who are responsible and self-directed, as well as civic-minded.

12. Create and provide secondary course registration guides around larger Career Fields/Pathways (using those or similar to those found in the MN Chart developed by MDE/MNSCU) that will inform and guide students and their parents/guardians in course selection and intended to help learners build skills and competencies that can support their postsecondary interests, career interests and longer term aspirations.

13. Provide at least one work-based learning opportunity for every student prior to leaving high school-rethink credit requirements and time that may exist for those in 12th grade who desire to remain in the high school. (requires community partners to step-up to provide the opportunities to the students)

14. Fund a counselor position in each school to work specifically on Career and College readiness

15. Make funds available to train counselors/career center personnel at regular times to enhance the information offered in schools (perhaps mandated presentations)

16. Implement Minnesota's college and career readiness standards through middle and high school courses that address sound career development principles pertaining to three major skill areas: academic knowledge, employability skills, and job-specific skills.

17. Guidance Counselors should be restructured to ensure effectiveness in reaching ALL students throughout grades 9-12 and consider increasing hire within each school based on size to accommodate this reach. Restructure to include specific cultural training per school population.

18. School counselors should be on the college and career readiness leadership team at every high school.

19. High school students should take at least one career assessment and explore postsecondary options for their careers of interest each year.

20. Districts work toward the goal of one school counselor for every four hundred students in order to help lead college and career readiness programs.

21. Comprehensive college and career readiness programs should address the academic, admissions, career, financial, and personal/social domains each year in high school.

Discussion:

To accomplish these goals what experiences must all students have while they are in middle or high school? What are the areas of agreement among the existing recommendations? Based on your expertise, what are the critical elements of an effective guidance and counseling system for college and career readiness?

What program models or delivery systems can provide those experiences to students?