What do you want to be when you grow up? We ask our children this question many times in their lives, but do we ever really guide them in how to make that decision?
If you are a parent or grandparent, you probably grew up under the philosophy that if you graduated from high school, went to college, got a degree, found a job, and stuck with it, you would be happy and successful. Was that true? How did you decide what to major in? Did you find your dream career, joy, and success? According to recent labor statistics, less than 40% of college graduates actually end up working in a career related to their college degree. The world of work today is very different than it was in the twentieth century. Not all high paying, high demand jobs require a college degree, but many jobs and careers of the future will require specialized training, stackable degrees, certifications and licenses.
How can we help our young people prepare for success in the new economy and the fast changing careers of their future? In California, the goal of the Career Readiness Initiative is to provide all students with more opportunities for career exploration. However, with rigorous demands of the college prep curriculum, finding time to fit this in the regular school day is a challenge. Students and adults alike need a process for career exploration; for finding their interest, talents, gifts, skills, and passions. They need exposure to a wide variety of careers from a young age, techniques for developing skills, mentors, job shadowing experiences and guidance in developing a career path to the “dream job.”
As a parent, we can make learning about different careers a fun and exciting part of everyday life by just teaching children to observe workers everywhere they go. Help them look beyond the surface by asking basic reporter questions with a slight twist: Who works here? What do they do? Where are these careers in demand? How do they make a difference in our world, and why would you want to become this type of employee?
The next step is to begin the process of self- discovery and to develop a solid career path. Dr. Kevin Fleming, nationally acclaimed speaker and author of Redefining the Goal, and Steve Ward, the founder of Future N Focus, have developed an interactive workshop to help teens and adults to find the true path to career readiness in the 21st century. This dynamic workshop is coming to the Chaffey College Chino Campus on Saturday, May 13th. If you or someone you know is ready to “Get the Future in Focus,” the time is now! The $25 tickets are available at
Linda Ziegler, 35-year Veteran Educator, Career Education Instructor & Internship Coordinator, CAWEE Executive Board – Work Based Learning Consultant