What Can I Do & Where Can I Go?

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LMC_what_can_I_doCareer pathways & exploration for East County high school students

In a recent informal survey, I asked people, “When you were in high school, if someone had offered you a GPS that allowed you to type in your career goal and map out your exact career path, would you have taken it?” The responses from young and old alike were a resounding “You bet!” with a few, “Can I get one of those right now?” thrown in.

Unless you were fortunate enough to have superior direction from a high school guidance counselor, most of you had to fend for yourselves in taking what you hoped were the right steps toward reaching your career goals. Most of those paths had far too many side steps that, had you known, you could have avoided and made better choices.

Los Medanos College Fire AcademyMost careers and industry don’t have formal career pathways. But career pathways have huge benefits both for individuals and for employers. A career pathway consists of career ladders (the uphill steps to a career), and career lattices (crossover jobs where you can use your transferrable skills when you change your career choice). For individuals, the benefits of career pathways are numerous. These include the wealth of information available to assist you in selecting a career while learning which work and personal experiences, education, personality, skills sets, and equipment are necessary to reach and be successful in that career.

The benefits of career pathways for employers may be more subtle, but include the ability to ensure new employees are hired for jobs that are in line with their career paths, and to know what training and education will better prepare their workers for job advancement. Thus, employers gain a workforce that is committed, satisfied, dedicated and long-term.

At LMC, Career Pathways and Career Exploration staff are ramping up to provide local high school students support and an opportunity to make informed choices. One way this is being done is by bringing students to the college on “Career Focus Fridays”. These events are designed for students to explore a career cluster that aligns with their interests, abilities and strengths. Recently, LMC hosted 200 students for a Health and Public Safety Day where they explored fire technology, administration of justice, nursing and emergency medical services. Other Career Pathways events include a Visual and Performing Arts Day, Early Childhood Education Day, Industrial Tech and the Trades Day, and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Day. These visits allow students to learn about pathway programs, meet with instructors, hear from current students, and tour the facilities.

Another way LMC is reaching out to our K-12 partners has been by piloting dual enrollment counseling classes at some of our local high schools. Career Exploration & Orientation to College courses are being offered to juniors and seniors on their respective high schools throughout East County. High school students at both comprehensive and alternative campuses are being instructed by LMC faculty in college-level courses where they have the ability to earn one or more transferable college credits. High school students have the ability to jump start their college journey by trying on the hat of a college student. They are determining early what most interests them and how to go after the appropriate pathway of study, all the while gaining confidence in their ability to be successful in a college setting.

To find out more about career pathways and support specifically designed for high school students preparing for college, visit LMC’s CTE Career Pathways at www.losmedanos.edu/cte or visit our many resources found at Transfer & Career Services, www.losmedanos.edu//career.

– Keith Hensley and Kelly Green

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