PATH TO CAREERSfork-in-the-road

You approach a fork in the road and are pressed to make a decision. Which path do you follow? What direction do you take? Your overcome by stress and anxiety. You hope your human GPS kicks in.

Many high school students and young adults find themselves in a similar situation when it comes to the thought of pursuing a college education. What path does one follow?  Thankfully individuals have many paths, each specific to an individual, each as powerful as the next.

However, over time society has not been the best guide in educating and promoting the many paths an individual can follow.  Society in general has elected to place one value on the choice of college and another on the thought of selecting an alternative path. As a result, many young adults find themselves demotivated, confused and lost, questioning what they should do. With no path to champion, many are inadvertently misdirected resulting in their ability to find financial security for themselves and others in the inner circles.

But why? Educators and psychologist will tell you everyone develops at a different level and pace. Everyone has different talents and treasures. Everyone has different goals and aspirations. So the question has to be, is college for everyone and if the answer is no, why as a society do we not champion the thought of going to college and/or starting a career post high school with the same level of excitement and joy. Is it that the “paths” are not clearly marked?

So what is a student, parent and/or one’s extended support system to do? Today, is it critical to expose young minds to the different types of roles (jobs/careers) that as a nation and society we need to remain competitive and financially strong. Roles that many times take different paths, but all equally critical to personal well-being and that of our nation. Every high school student whether in a college prep, vocational technical program, a “c” student or an “a” student must be encouraged to the post-secondary path that draws on their spirit, personal conviction, and talent. As a society we must celebrate the choices individuals make to drive our nation forward. As Al Jarreau tells us in his music, the “World’s a Possibility”!!

All Paths Lead to Success (from high school)

Beeline to College – the traditional route of a 4 year public or private college focused on an outcome that provides the gateway to a professional career in any number of industries and market places. Typically, a student who is looking to follow this path should be enrolled in a college prep program with a GPA equal to a B- or better, have taken the mandatory state equivalent academic courses for acceptance in a MA state school and who has taken one of more honors and AP course. Students in the so called Beeline to College concept seek acceptance to four (4) year public and private colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Canada as well as Internationally.

A2B – students who work hard academically in high school but will benefit from additional academic and personal development prior to entering a four-year college can turn to the A2B program offered in MA. Known as the Mass Transfer – Commonwealth Connection Program, the program is available to students of ALL ages whether coming right from high school or looking to return to complete a four year degree. The program allows students to enroll in Community Colleges, earn their Associates Degree and transfer to one many state college/universities to achieve their Bachelor’s degree. Students generally enroll full-time (many work part-time) and can complete their Bachelor’s degree in four years. Individuals who enroll in the Transfer Program can earn financial incentives based on varies program offerings. The A2B concept is not restrictive to enrolling in public institutions, however, incentives and benefits will vary depending on the transfer policies of the individual schools.

Earn and Learn – for individuals who have a lesser interest in an academic path right out of high school but did not attend a technical/vocation school, the concept of earn and learn is an excellent path.  Individuals generally find themselves pursuing a role within the financial, health care, retail, hotel management and/or consumer service fields. These roles call for individuals with good interpersonal skills and a desire to work. But it does not end there. Many individuals with the support and encouragement of their employer will pursue a part-time college program to achieve their degree and/or certification.

Technical and trade – property owners of all shapes and sizes know the critical importance of professionally trained technical and/or trade personal. But today organizations and companies rely heavily on individuals who can join an organization as a contract and/or permanent employee. Individuals filling these roles can range from technology specialist, cyber security, 3-D designers and other technology proficient individuals. Individuals who fall into this category come directly from a technical and trade focused high school environment.

Military Service – a role that calls for a special type of man or women, one who is willing to place their county and its citizens before themselves. Individuals who are called to this role are high school and/or college graduate with academic and personal character positioning them to meet the enlistment eligibility criteria of the specific brand of service. Individuals select from a wide range of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) that include communications, administrative, technology, engineering, infantry, equipment and others. Once one completes their service commitment they are able to take their training and leadership skills into the private sector filling similar and new roles.

Parents and extended support groups, you have the greatest responsibility to be the ultimate advocate for your student. Be ever vigilant and aware of those with biases and wiling to placing barriers in front of your student. Don’t be afraid to question and ask WHY and to understand that all paths are not the same. Just like all young adults.

Societies leaders and educators who work with individuals from age 13-25 must focus on proving guidance and direction that supports all paths to careers. Each must be supported and championed equally. Bridging the opportunity gap will ensure a greater number of individuals with financial stability and personal happiness.