CTE – Career and Technical Education: Four Steps to Navigate from K-12 to the “The Rest of Your Life”

“What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”

Do you remember the first time you were asked this question? My grandfather asked me at age four. With sincere conviction, I answered, “I want to work at Arby’s.”

He laughed out loud and patted me on the head. I got the message that my answer wasn’t up to par, but I had time to reconsider.

It’s a “cute” question. Until graduation comes barreling ‘round the corner; the stakes get real very quick! Students spend 13 years in school. Then, suddenly, they’re expected to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It’s a LOT of pressure!

college & career path

Navigating the path from “K-12” to “The Rest of Your Life” can be scary.
But, the path is not complicated. It can even be an exciting adventure!

Typically, students don’t get much “transition support” as they navigate from “K-12” to “the rest of their lives.” But, the path is not complicated.

In short, students need:

1. Life-long learning and self-management skills, aka “study skills.”

This will come as no surprise to you. After all, you’re reading a post on StudySkills.com. 🙂 These skills are most important and lay a powerful foundation for the remaining steps. But, you already understand the importance of a solid, research-based study skills curriculum.

2. Self-knowledge about personal skills, aptitudes, and optimal work environments.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to highlight and work with (not against) student’s natural strengths. Especially when making long-term decisions.

We use the Theory of Multiple Intelligences as a broad starting point to help students learn more about themselves. There are several other personality and “work style” profiles available, as well. For best results, students should use three assessments to help them identify a suitable career path. (Multiple intelligences plus two more.) This allows students to get a more objective, “triangulated” picture of themselves.

3. Knowledge about viable options in the workplace.

What jobs are available? What’s in high demand? What training options are required? What do they pay? What’s the environment like?

The days of a 4-year degree guaranteeing success are LONG gone. Decisions must be made with far greater levels of discernment than ever before.

The good news is, high-paying and highly rewarding jobs are emerging from many new corners. So are resources to help students make informed decisions, thanks to Oakland County.

Oakland County has emerged as a nationwide leader in workforce development. They are leading the path of empowering the workforce with clear, updated, and relevant information about the most in-demand jobs and skills.

CTE – Career and Technical Education: Skills Needed Reports

Share the following reports* with school counselors, teachers, and students:

2014 – Skills Needs Assessments – Health Systems
2013 – Skills Needs Assessments – Advanced Manufacturing

college &career prep

*These reports are geared towards south-east Michigan, but they represent nationwide trends for CTE – Career and Technical Education. To my knowledge (and I’ve done extensive research), they are the only reports of their kind.

4. Exploration.

Finally, students need to experience their options.  Work-site visits, part-time employment, internships, and apprenticeships are the only way students can confirm they are on a path matching their interests and aptitudes. Challenge your students to make three connections for workplace visits this year. (Yes, let your students do the work! It’s good practice for the real-world.)

National Information About Apprenticeships

More Details can be found at Oakland County’s Education & Training page.

Empower the young adults in your life to take charge of their future with real-world skills, exploration about themselves, and knowledge about the world around them. This can be an exciting adventure… for those prepared for the journey!


Susan Kruger Signature






EB 072017

Six Steps to
Conquer the Chaos

Get Our Free Guide & Information on... notebook24 How to Organize & Motivate Students for Success

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
SOAR® in the News
The SOAR® Curriculum

The most critical learning, organizing, and communication skills needed for school. Learn more here.

Who’s Using SOAR®?
SOAR® Guarantee

Click here to learn more.