Career exploration and vocational training for at-risk youth.
Michigan State University Extension 4-H defines career exploration as “the process in which an individual chooses an educational path or training or job that matches their interests, skills and abilities.” When high school teachers and counselors ask, “What do you plan to do in the future? Can you answer this question, do you know what you want to do in the future? Maybe you are a teenager who is really unsure. Students and parents tend to rely on schools to prepare for a career, and there are a few programs that offer skills and interest-based training.
Job Corps is a program that helps young people find their educational path, their interests and their skills. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive residential education and skills training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 to 24.
Job Corps is designed for young people to complete high school, build on their existing skills, train them for meaningful careers and help them get a job. Students do not have to obtain a certain “grade” because Job Corps allows students to demonstrate their skills in a given subject or area of training, they also use a training and achievement record.
Michigan happens to have three Job Corps centers: Grand Rapids, Flint and Detroit. The centers provide vocational technical training in the following areas: advanced manufacturing, auto and machine repair, construction, finance and business, healthcare, homeland security, hospitality, information technology, renewable energy and resources, and transportation. What is unique about this program is that it is fully funded by the federal government and free to students who are accepted. They look for students who have faced barriers including homelessness, low income and youth considered at risk. Studies show that it is students who often stop going to school in order to be able to work.
MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help prepare young people for a prosperous future. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or youth entrepreneurship, email us at [email protected]
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