In order to make informed career and educational decisions, young people need opportunities to participate in a range of career exploration activities. Career exploration activities are experiences at school and in the community that help young people to (a) identify how their interests, values, and skills relate to careers of interest; (b) describe the skills and activities associated with those careers; and, (c) identify the post-secondary training, two-year, four-year, or graduate degree programs needed to successfully pursue those careers. Career exploration activities take many forms, including informational interviews with employers, career-related guest speakers, workplace visits and tours, job shadowing, career fairs and career days, career camps, hands-on career projects, and career-focused mentoring.
This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in career exploration. Youth programs and school systems featured in this brief offer career exploration programming utilizing methods recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.