The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive career development program for lower and middle class high school students. These students are more at risk than others because of their already suspect socioeconomic status. In general, this group does not have the same advantages as upper class individuals who can many times rely on better educational opportunities and networking possibilities as a whole. The program also seeks to assist this contingent of the population because this an area which has not been focused on for lower and middle class students. Therefore it is imperative to present career training to assist these individuals when they are making choices that may have significant impact on their futures.
Theoretical Model Used
This particular model will be based on Holland's Theory for career development. The gist of the theory is that people are happier if they work in an environment that mirrors their personality type. The goal of the theory is to get people to understand their personality type first and to see what jobs correspond to that type. When the person understands what type of jobs are available to them they will be better able to identify an occupation that will suit (Career Key, 2012).
To determine personality type, Holland uses a questionnaire which asks the person taking the assessment simple questions that are then related to personality type. For example, the question may ask the test taker what activity they prefer given a list of activities. The choice they make falls into one of six categories -- realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising or conventional -- which starts to build a personality profile for them. Taking the entire assessment will present a picture of the type of person the individual is because of the types of answers they give to the various questions. These questions not only relate to personality type for the person but also for the occupation.
One caveat to this theory is the realization that people are not of only one type, but a grouping of types. This means that people are not just one of the six types but usually have a primary and secondary characteristic (such as realistic-investigative) which determines the type of personality they have and the type of job they should seek. Each personality type has a group of jobs that corresponds to it which would best suit the individual.
According to the theory, the reason that the individual should seek the type of job that relates to their personality is because the individual will be most satisfied in that occupation (Career Key, 2012). Job satisfaction in this theory entails both satisfaction with the occupation and also with the people who are working their also. In a perfect world all of the people who work in a particular occupation would have the personality type that concurred with that job and made the person amenable to it.
The reason that this theory will be used for this program is because it starts the intended population off correctly on their job path. The student will understand their personality type according to their professed likes and dislikes, and they will be in a position to pursue that occupation at a young age. This theoretical stance for the program will give the high school student access to the types of occupations which best fit them at a time when they are just beginning along a life-long career path.
The primary goal of the program is to give students that Holland Career Assessment which will allow them to choose a career path that is appropriate to their personality type. Holland believed that people would be more successful in their careers if they worked in ones that agreed with the type of person that they were (Career Key, 2012). By determining this type first, the remainder of the program can be used to guide the individual into careers that will best suit them.
The Australian Blueprint for Career Development is a comprehensive guide for instructors with regard to how they can help students understand and achieve their career goals (MCEECDYA, 2010). In one portion of the Blueprint labeled "The Four-Stage Learning Taxonomy" it talks about how a teacher can help students acquire the knowledge that they will need to successfully pursue their career path. It lists a four stage method students can use to first discover a career path and then act upon it. The taxonomy is given as:
1. Learners Acquire and understand the required knowledge
2. They Apply the knowledge, attitude or skill by putting it into action
3. They Personalize their learning
4. They Act upon that learning in creative ways (MCEECDYA, 2010).
This program seeks to accomplish all of these stages by providing specific steps that the individual can take.
The first step is to give the Holland's inventory, as stated above, so that the student can "acquire" the knowledge that they need. The understanding has to come with the instruction given as to the reasons for the assessment, and can be mixed into a lesson regarding why personality and job satisfaction are so closely aligned. Because this may seem like a foreign concept to many of the participants, it is necessary that they have an understanding of what they are being asked to do. This is also the education portion of the program in which the instructor outlines what the students are to be doing and why.
The application of the knowledge that the students are gaining about themselves and the different career paths that would suit them is the second part of the program. The teacher is there as a guide to help the individual students understand the personality type that has been fitted to them, and show them the many types of jobs that are available for that type. The application is to research jobs and find occupations which interest the student enough that they wish to find out more about them. The goal here is to help the student narrow the selection down to a few, no more than ten (10), occupations which s/he thinks that they would be willing to pursue.
The next goal is to personalize this learning so that the student feels that they can truly get involved in the process. The teacher can act as a counselor in this portion of the project by helping the student determine why a particular career fits them better than another. This will require that the instructor has either some knowledge of the chosen profession, or is able to point the students to resources that will give them an idea about the occupations that they are examining.
The final stage of the taxonomy is to have the students determine creative ways that they can act upon their discoveries. Of course, one method that the teacher can use is to have the students determine one or more occupations they think that they would be interested in pursuing and shadow someone in the community who is currently employed doing that job. By shadowing the person, the student can not only see what that occupation entails, but they can also ask the worker more about the intricacies of the chosen job. Every occupation has its pros and cons and it would be a part of the program for the student to determine both of these. Once the student was able to make a list of these they would be better able to see if they thought the job type was a good fit for them or not. There are other methods that a teacher could use that would have a similar effect on this unit, but it may be best to give the students several options from which they can choose so that they can be more creative with it.
A final piece of this learning assignment would be to discuss this occupational choice as a total life choice. Students need to understand that when they choose an occupation they are selecting something that will occupy all of their lives. Of course, this includes the time they are at work, but it also envelops family time and leisure time as well. An occupation relates to personality, so it will also color what types of activities the individual does outside of work also.
One of the most difficult items for any assignment is to determine how successful it was in helping the students gain knowledge. The program needs to be reviewed at every stage to see how successful it is and how it may be improved over time to give the students all of the advantages it should. The reviews should be built into the different aspects of the program the same way that the stages of the taxonomy are.
The three components of the program are providing the knowledge that the students need, providing guidance during the application phase and giving the students career counseling so that they can better understand how they can act on their career choices and…