Career Awareness

Goals: To introduce student's to the World of Work, to develop programs that involve students in adult work place situations and with the social interactions they will encounter after graduation. The companion site is School to Work which presents employment related skills that can be taught in a classroom and reinforced in work experience situations.

Field Trips

To various community businesses and organizations- One to three hours. In preparation for field trips familiarize the students with some basic career data.

After the trip have the students answer the following questions.

  1. What are the working conditions or work environment of the job?
  2.  What skills and abilities are needed for the job?
  3.  Does the job deal mainly with: People, Data, Things, or Ideas?
  4. Where can you learn the skills for the job?
  5.  Is this a job you are interested in? Why or why not

Elementary: (awareness level) Career development at the elementary level includes helping students understand the role of work, one’s own uniqueness, and basic knowledge about different occupations. Elementary students become aware of community workers.

Career Speakers

Invite speakers from the community to talk about their jobs. Use this opportunity to reinforce basic work related social and life skills by having the guest speakers answer questions related to the school to work curriculum. Along with the field trip questions have the students make up questions to ask the speakers. For example:

  •       What do you like about your job?
  •       How long have you had your job?
  •       What are some of your job duties?
  •       Is there anything you don't like about your job?
  •       Has there ever been a time when you didn't feel like going to work?

Middle School: (exploration level) The emphasis at the middle level is on the refinement of knowledge and awareness to the actual experience of simulated work tasks.

Job Shadow- Job shadows and industry visits can further connect the school to future employment.

The student has a one to one job experience with an employee. The student spends time observing daily activities, asking questions and learning about the job. When and if appropriate the student can do hands-on-tasks a the work place. Usually 3-6 hours.

*  The student can begin to identify career interests.
*  Observe the daily routine of adult workers.
*  Gain an awareness of the academic, technical, and personal skills required by particular jobs.
*  Develop and apply communication skills by interacting with and interviewing workers.
*  Realize that different jobs are characterized by different work cultures and working  environments.
*  Navigate the community by traveling to and from the job shadow site.
*  Begin to understand the connection between school, work, and achieving goals.
For more information about Job Shadowing see: Job Shadow Guide for Staff and Students, Connections Linking Work and Learning, US Dept. of Education.

Jobs that can be created in and around the school area.

  • Laundry- doing laundry for younger grades or for art room.
  • Cafeteria Work-  wiping tables and chairs, dry and wet mopping, sweeping, filling condiments, vacuuming.
  • Custodial Work- general clean up around the school including, mopping, sweeping, dusting, windows, getting rid of trash, painting, refilling paper towel dispensers etc.
  • School store- students work as cashiers, greeters, clerks, they learn to handle money and other sales and social skills related skills.
  • Grounds Keeping- seasonal outside work (raking, weeding, and spreading of bark mulch).
  • Clerical Work-  Data entry, mail outs, photocopying, filing,...
  • Bus Maintenance- cleaning buses, washing, vacuuming etc.
  • Filling Soda/Juice Machines- collecting the money, counting the money and passing it to the appropriate person.
  • Recycling-
  • Creative Arts- making sets for plays, working lights for plays and other school auditorium events
  • Food Service- packaging silverware, weighing and bagging dry good from government surplus boxes, cold food preparation, dessert prep. stocking shelves with canned and dry goods from food service deliveries, washing pots and pans, and dry and wet mopping the floors.

Vocational Classes

Home Economics- food preparation, nutrition planning, cake decorating, child care, sewing skills, basket weaving...
Horticulture- plant care, landscaping, flower arranging, gardening, seasonal projects...
Technology Education/Building Trades- computer assisted design, wood working projects and skills, general computer skills...
Office Occupations- word processing, desktop publishing, general computer skills, office skills: collating, filing, organizing information...
Art-crafts, design projects, pottery, ...

Volunteer Experiences

American Red Cross

Animal Shelters

Public Library

Tutoring younger children

Community Center

Fund Raisers for various non profit organizations our school needs

Contract Work

Usually a large quantity of repetitive work done for a community business. An example would be a mail out where students are folding mail, stuffing envelopes and labeling envelopes. Sometimes students get paid by at a piece work rate.
Similar work can be found on campus from the various offices who have mail outs, handbooks etc. that need to be assembled, folded, stuffed, labeled etc.

Community Based Work Sites

      • Local Greenhouse
      • Salvation Army Store
      • Grocery Store
      • Department Stores
      • Pizza/Deli
      • Bakery
      • Restaurants
      • Day Care Center
      • Car Dealership
      • Seasonal- ex. landscaping
      • Recreation Department
      • Nursing Home
      • Hospital