The age-old question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" has never been more important. Today, many jobs and careers that will be available to current students don't even exist yet, so how then does a student answer the question? The answer is a three-step, ongoing process that starts with self-exploration, moves on to career exploration and ultimately includes career planning and management.
Ironwood Ridge supports this process through the ECAP (Education and Career Action Plan) that counselors work on with students each year and incorporates several platforms, including Major Clarity and Big Future. Among other parts of the plan, students complete an interest inventory and investigate related careers and the education needed to pursue those careers.
Additionally, there are many Career and Technical Education classes taught at Ironwood and students have access to the Pima County JTED program as juniors and seniors. The classes are great opportunities for students to explore different careers and, in many instances, earn certification that will lead to direct employment. Students interested in these classes should contact their counselor and more information can be found on the JTED/ Career and Technical Information tab on this website.
In addition to their ECAP, students are encouraged to explore other resources available to help them in making choices about their future. For some, that future involves going to college, for some, a certificate program that leads to direct employment; for others, it might be an apprenticeship, the military or a job. There are many different options and no one way is the "right" way. The right way for a student is as individual as the student, so it is important for them to understand their own interests and strengths and how those relate to a career.
The list below offers some resources for students and parents to help them in making relevant choices for their future:
The Arizona Career and Educational Guide is available through the AZ Department of Education and offers a step by step guide to knowing yourself and the world of work, as well as information to help you make career decisions and reach your goals.
Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is put out by the US Department of Labor and is revised every two years so it is a source of current career information. O*NET is the online version of this database.
O*NET Resource Center. This the gateway portal for a variety of O*NET career exploration tools, including:
- O*NET Ability Profiler – A self-assessment tool that helps individuals find their strengths and the occupations that match them.
- O*NET Interest Profiler – A self-assessment tool that helps individuals discover what types of work activities they would like.
- O*NET Computerized Interest Profiler – A computer-generated version of the Interest Profiler vocational interest assessment.
- O*NET Work Importance Locator – A self-assessment tool that helps individuals pinpoint what is important to them in a job.
- O*NET Work Importance Profiler – A computer-generated version of the Work Importance Locator.
My Next Move is another career exploration tool that has information about different occupations, careers and industries. The “I’m not really sure” section helps users to develop their own profile and match their interests with careers.
Arizona@Work is another website that provides direct links to information for self-assessment, career exploration, and career planning and management topics, such as:
- Exploring Careers
- Education & Training
- Resumes & Interviews
- The Job Search
- Salary & Benefits
- Service Locator: People & Places to Help
Career Cornerstone Center - The Career Cornerstone Center is an ever-expanding resource for anyone interested in exploring career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, and healthcare. Explore over 185 degree fields and find out about education requirements, salaries, networking, precollege ideas, and career planning resources. Our goal is to demystify STEM career planning and allow students to consider career paths based on their interests and the work they might do.
Here's a link to the Direction for Life: Arizona Programs of Study website. It's goal is to help students and families plan and prepare for post-secondary education and career success.
Another website to check out: Employability Skills Framework. This website talks about the skills necessary for success in the workplace at all levels and shares some additional resources.