As students enter high school, they often hear the questions, “What are your plans after school?” This well-meaning question posed by family members, teachers, and administrators can cause a fair amount of anxiety for the student that doesn’t have their life planned to their career.
To add to this stress, students who are interested in career paths must take pre-requisite courses in ninth grade and decide on course pathways in tenth grade to ensure they will be ready for post-secondary life.
Currently in Alabama, students in eighth grade take a career interest inventory to spark thoughts about their future. These eighth-grade students are asked to develop a four-year plan that outlines their path through high school.
One problem, however, is that the careers that students are most likely interested in will be the ones they know about. They often rely on the careers of family members or other familiar adults to decide their path. This limits the effectiveness of an interest-only assessment of student career paths.
Now, there is a tool available that will help students make informed choices. YouScience measures students’ aptitudes for certain skill sets. Through a variety of exercises, students’ skills in several areas are measured. Spatial reasoning, sequential logic, short-term memory and many other skills are measured. YouScience then prepares reports for students that show them their aptitudes and how those are linked to different careers.
The point where interests and aptitudes intersect is the logical beginning place for conversations about a career that will last. Armed with this information, school counselors can help students make informed choices about the future.
In Morgan County, the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce is providing funding for all ninth-grade students to take advantage of the YouScience skills aptitude assessment. By measuring aptitudes, students can find the career path that will lead to fulfillment and happiness as an adult. By knowing what skills they naturally possess and the careers that align with those talents, young adults can begin career preparation with the confidence that their choice is a great fit for their skills as well as their interests.
Dr. Tommy Davis is the administrator for the North Alabama Homebuilding Academy and a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee as the Vice Chairman of Talent Development and Education. To contact Dr. Davis, please click here.