The Garden Spot Secondary Campus Career Coaching Program assists learners in exploring careers that may be of interest to them as they move through their educational careers. Often learners feel the pressure of answering questions like: What are you going to do after graduation? What college will you be attending? What is your dream job and how do you get started? The Career Coaching Program is designed to assist learners in determining their interests and how they might connect to future career paths. Through career exploration activities designed by the Transition Coordinator, Career Pathways Coordinator, and Job Trainers, our learners participate, when appropriate, in career coaching through activities to assist them in developing a career plan. The types of activities include:
Business Tour – A business representative gives learners a tour of the facility to share information and highlight a variety of jobs. Tours typically provide a short introductory meeting and a follow-up Q&A session at the end
Job Shadow – Local businesses provide opportunities to visit the workplace, investigate a career field, and experience a typical day on the job.
Job Training – Job Training is focused on exposing learners to paid and unpaid work-based learning experiences that will assist them in learning essential job skills, practicing appropriate social skills, and developing a work ethic that promotes success in the workplace. Career Coaches support learners in identifying areas in need of improvement with the guidance of an employer or learner and creating positive ways to improve work performance to maintain employment.
Mentorship – A one-on-one experience between a business representative and a learner, sharing insights and providing encouragement and guidance about the workplace, work ethics, careers, and educational requirements.
Career Interview – A one-on-one or small group discussion with a business representative sharing information about their career path, education, job duties, skills, and lessons learned in the workplace.
Career Speakers – A prepared presentation by a business representative to share information about career journeys, their current job, education and training requirements, and the skills needed to be successful.
Mock Interviews – A one-on-one practice interview or simulation to allow learners to learn how to answer questions, improve their verbal and non-verbal communication, and to help them to gain confidence for future interviews.
Work-Based Learning Experiences –
Internship – An internship is an introduction to a career for one or two semesters. This is a structured work-experience program during which the learner experiences a career of interest. The internship plan is outlined in a training agreement with learning objectives and employment evaluation requirements. An internship can be a paid or unpaid short-term work experience for career exploration.
Co-op – A co-op is a job with an employer-employee relationship that addresses all applicable state and federal guidelines. A co-op is a job that may continue after graduation. It provides a hands-on work experience connected to the learner’s career goal and a program of study. The co-Op includes a signed training agreement and plan, worksite visits, quarterly supervisor evaluations, a co-op class with regular instruction, and is supervised by a school-certified co-op instructor.
Middle School Grades 7 & 8:
The middle school focus is career exploration through on-campus events.
In the fall semester during the Junior Achievement Your Economic Success event, students will participate in workshops to learn how to be successful in a career. The workshop topics include, Am I Qualified, Career Paths, Manufacturing, Soft Skills, Interviewing Tips, Keeping Your Balance, Resume Building, and STEM Skills.
In the spring semester, students will participate in Career Day. In this event, we invite 16 local businesses to represent each of the 16 career clusters. Students rotate through different rooms to learn about careers in these career clusters.
High School Grades 9, 10 & 11:
During the learner’s 9th and 10th grades, career exploration activities are tailored to individual career interest areas. To prepare students for the 11th and 12th grades, conversations revolve around professional behavior, potential training opportunities for the career interest area, and the academic demands that learners must meet to gain entry into specific programs and employment opportunities. These opportunities will continue to refine and define an individual career plan. Typical activities include business tours and speakers, CTC and Post-Secondary Education and Training tours, and mock interviews.
High School Grades 11 & 12:
During the learner’s 11th and 12th grades, career exploration activities are narrowed down to include specific high school programs that prepare the learner to meet individual training needs. This can include participation in Career and Technical programs, Co-op Opportunities, Internships, Work-Based Learning Experiences, Dual Enrollment, or Pre-Apprenticeship Programs. As learners experience additional understanding of their career paths, other career exploration activities may be determined as beneficial and planned accordingly.
Throughout the Career Coaching program, it is expected and encouraged that learners reflect on their experiences and share ideas for additional experiences. The model is only effective with a continued commitment to growth and personal responsibility for learning. Trusted and encouraging relationships are built through this process and learners are engaged in planning for their future.
Image from The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Office of Career and Professional Development.
Career Coaching Image created by Autumn Hedrick, Garden Spot 2023 Graduate and 2023 Intern at Weber Advertising.