CAREER-BASED SERVICE LEARNING

 
 
 
 

Overview

Career-Based Service Learning combines traditional community service with a structured school- and work-based opportunity to explore a career field, emphasizing the connections between the service experiences, preparation for careers (career readiness skill development) and academic learning.  Students benefit by acquiring career-related skills and knowledge while learning civic responsibility and gaining personal satisfaction. Service learning can be embedded in short-term projects and can be individual, team or classroom oriented.  

Benefits

  • Students apply content knowledge they have learned in school, critical thinking and good judgment to address genuine community needs
  • Engages students in experiential, hands-on projects in the community while deepening their understanding of an area of career interest
  • Informs the students career and postsecondary education planning
  • Develops skills, habits and attitudes vital to career success
  • Helps students understand the needs of their local business and non-profit organizations and agencies
  • Provides the context in which students can gain organizational, team, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, along with attitudes and capabilities necessary to succeed in work and life
 Teacher Checklist for Service Learning Development

Teacher Checklist for Service Learning Development

 Service Learning Project Planning Worksheet

Service Learning Project Planning Worksheet

Success Factors

  • Allow students to design and select the career-based service learning activity
  • Provide classroom preparation for the career-based service learning
  • Have students conduct preparatory research and report on the community/business/non-profit organization need
  • Students complete a planned series of activities and apply their skills and knowledge to help meet a need in the school or greater community
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and contribution to the business, non-profit organization or agency.

CAREER FAIRS

 
 
 

Overview

Career fairs are career awareness opportunities for larger groups of students that may be organized by schools and employers to introduce students to opportunities within an industry or in multiple industries.

Benefits

  • Enable a large number of students to explore a variety of career opportunities efficiently (in a concentrated period of time in a single location)
  • Allow students to practice the career readiness skills of communicating effectively and appropriately through speaking, writing, and professional etiquette
  • Provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of their industries
  • Engage students critical thinking and decision making as they meet with various career professionals and learn more about the responsibilities and rewards of each career field or pathway they represent
  • Encourage networking by making connections with potential employers and mentors
  • Inform students of a range of job and career opportunities available in the community and area
  • Provide the opportunity for students to learn about work-based learning opportunities such as internships
  • Build partnerships with the business community and get prospective business partners involved in the efforts of career and technical education teachers and school counselors

Success Factors

  • Design career fairs with the specific target audience age ranges in mind.
  • Start preparing early, allowing the advance lead time necessary (5-6 months minimum recommended) for working out the logistics of the event (date, times, location, invitation list, etc.)
    • Avoid holidays, test dates, high stress times
    • Gain participation from as many other teachers/administrators as possible
  • Enlist a career day planning team to organize and carry out major tasks.
  • Compile a database of local employers (businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies)
  • Invite twice as many presenters as you think you will need.
  • Cover all six Career Fields found on the Nebraska Career Education Model (Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Business, Marketing, and Management; Communication and Information Systems; Human Sciences and Education; Health Sciences; Skilled and Technical Sciences)
  • Intentionally focus on all post-high school career options (certificate programs, apprenticeships, specialized training programs, 2-year postsecondary, 4-year postsecondary, military service)
  • Provide specific, detailed information to career fair presenters on how to maximize the benefit to the participating students by sharing:
    • How and why they chose their career field/profession
    • Training and/or education necessary
    • Career readiness skills essential to their success
  • Provide classroom preparation for the career fair experience
  • Develop a master schedule
  • Have students conduct preparatory research on companies that will be represented at the career fair
  • Organize a welcome session to greet career fair presenters/speakers
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on what they learned during the career fair interactions
  • Send thank-you notes or letters to all career fair presenters
  • Have students practice appropriate follow-up communication skills by writing thank-you notes or letters to all career fair presenters and volunteers

Adapted from the following sources:

10 Tips for Career Day Success, ASCA School Counselor, November 1, 2010

Host a Career Day, Envision Blog, October 13, 2015

How to Plan a School Career Day

Career Related Education Manual, revised 2012, Georgia Department of Education, July 2012

LUNCH & LEARNS

 
 

Overview

Lunch and Learns are short, focused, 30-45 minute sessions focused around a career readiness, career exploration or workplace experience related topic.  They are meant to be informal, combining presentations of information with conversations and exploration of interesting content related to the classroom and workplace experiences in which the students are engaged.  Lunch and learns can be teacher, business/industry professional or student-led. 

Benefits

  • Lunch and Learn sessions offer a unique opportunity for students to interact with a key individual to learn more about their career, their business and/or the path they took to become successful.
  • Students have the opportunity to eat together and engage in conversation in a non-threatening environment that promotes learning.
  • Students develop communication skills of questioning and listening while engaging in conversation with the presenter.
  • Students learn about careers and the requirements for success from actual individuals engaged in the occupation.
  • A large number of students can benefit from one session.

Success Factors

  • Lunch and learn sessions must be well advertised, highlighting the presenter and his/her credentials.
  • Only encourage students who have an interest in the career area represented by the presenter to attend the session.
  • Provide lunch where possible and keep it “kid friendly” – food that students would enjoy.
  • Have a discussion with students about how to ask appropriate questions.
  • Discuss appropriate behavior with the students to make a positive impression on the presenter.
  • Provide information about the business the presenter represents for students to research prior to the presentation.
  • Have a worksheet prepared for students to take notes during the presentation and questioning.
  • Lunch and learns can be a great predecessor to job shadow experiences at the presenter’s business.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

 
 
 

Overview

Career Research Projects engage students in researching the educational requirements, required skills, salary ranges, job duties, types of work and benefits as well as challenges associated with a particular career field, cluster or pathway. Quality career research projects involve online research, personal interviews with individuals employed in that career, written presentation/reflection and oral presentation of the findings. 

Benefits

  • Students explore a career field or pathway in which they have an interest
  • Enable a large number of students to explore a variety of career opportunities efficiently
  • Allow students to practice the career readiness skills of communicating effectively and appropriately through speaking, writing, and professional etiquette
  • Offers the opportunity to use a variety of research methods including internet research, library research, job shadowing, personal interviews, etc.
  • Engage students critical thinking and decision making as they meet with various career professionals and learn more about the responsibilities and rewards of each career field or pathway they represent

Success Factors

  • Clearly communicate the objectives and expectations for the career research project
  • Provide a sample worksheet with key questions that should be answered in the research (Salary, educational requirements, job description, occupational outlook, personal characteristics, skills and knowledge needed, career readiness skills needed, advantages/disadvantages/rewards/challenges
  • Incorporate interviews into the research to allow practices of verbal and written communication skills
  • Require an information presentation of the information and perspectives gained from the career research project
  • Provide a clear grading criteria/rubric to guide the career research project activities and specify outcomes

SPEAKERS

 
 
 

Overview

Career Speakers are career awareness activities that provide opportunities for students to learn about the skills required in various industries or career fields; the career paths taken by those in the field; the tools, materials and equipment used; and the work environment and expectations for performance in various industries.

Benefits

  • Provide an opportunity for a classroom or group of students to hear directly from a business person or career professional.
  • Allows students to gain realistic perspectives on expectations in a job and/or career field and the workplace requirements
  • Supplements information that can be obtained through other work awareness strategies.
  • Students explore a career field or pathway in which they have an interest.
  • Enable a large number of students to explore a variety of career opportunities efficiently.
  • Provide the opportunity to gain an understanding of all aspects of an industry.

Success Factors

  • Reach out to diverse local employers and professionals that align to student interests.
  • Consider a panel of 2-3 guest speakers rather than a single presenter to offer more depth and breadth of information and alleviate some of the pressure on a single presenter to fill a specified period of time.
  • Request that the speaker:
    • Describe a typical work day.
    • Describe their occupation, educational requirements and specialized training required.
    • Discuss the aspect of their jobs they like best/least.
    • Discuss future employment outlook and projections for their career area.
    • Share the general wage and salary information.
    • Discuss benefits provided by the company/organization in which they are employed.
  • Suggest that the guest speaker include hands-on activities for the students.
  • Obtain a brief bio of the guest speaker in advance of the presentation to share with the class.
  • Clearly communicate the objectives of having the guest speaker present to the class.
  • Guide students to think about the importance of the particular career or job by posing an anticipatory set of questions.
  • Have students list or discuss the career readiness skills referenced in the guest speaker’s presentation.
  • Allow time for a brief question and answer period.

VIDEOS

 
 
 

Overview

Career videos show the types of work in which individuals employed in a career field, cluster or pathway are engaged. Nebraska Career Education, in cooperation with the Nebraska Departments of Labor and Economic Development, offers an array of virtual career tours of Nebraska-based businesses and industries.  Discussion guides for the teacher and viewing guides for students have been developed for each career tour.  These virtual industry tours provide a unique opportunity to get a glimpse inside Nebraska-based industries without leaving the classroom.  Interviews, tours of the business environment and “pop-up” information and statistics on job markets, salaries, and educational requirements are part of each career cluster’s videos. The videos are free and accessible at Nebraska Career Tours

CareerOneStop Videos, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offer a large video collection that allows students to learn about careers, industries, skills and abilities, or work options and education levels.  The Career and Cluster videos show the work that people do in nearly 550 careers, organized by the 16 career clusters.  The Skill and Ability videos explore the skills and abilities employers are looking for in job candidates.  Work option videos focus on non-traditional careers and work options.  The videos can be accessed HERE.

Benefits

  • Provide a supplement to information that can be obtained through other work awareness strategies such as curriculum, career fairs, guest speakers, etc.
  • Students explore a career field or pathway in which they have an interest
  • Enable a large number of students to explore a variety of career opportunities efficiently
  • Provide the opportunity to gain an understanding of all aspects of an industry

Success Factors

  • Identify videos that are current, short in length and include a broad range of demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
  • Clearly communicate the objectives of viewing the career video(s) to the students
  • Provide a student viewing guide with key questions or information for students to watch for while viewing the video (salary, educational requirements, job description, occupational outlook, personal characteristics, skills and knowledge needed, career readiness skills needed, advantages/ disadvantages/rewards/challenges)
  • Guide students to think about the importance of the particular career or job by posing an anticipatory set of questions
  • Develop a set of questions related to the video to pose to the class for discussion or written communications activities
  • Have students list career readiness skills referenced or demonstrated in the career video and explain the importance of each skill to success in that career