AUTHOR // Mary Rowland


Middle school is a prime opportunity to engage students in focused career exploration. Students are empowered with a growing sense of self-awareness and exposure to a variety of careers is crucial at this time. During middle school, students develop opinions that will shape the classes they select in high school and the careers they pursue after graduation. Exposing middle grades students to STEM careers may encourage more students to pursue jobs in computer science and math. This exposure can help to attract greater diversity to a growing field of in-demand jobs (Boyington, 2018). Glessner and et al. add that engaging middle grades students in successful career exploration experiences builds self-efficacy (Glessner and et al., 2017). Glessner and et al. think that this increased self-efficacy, could encourage students to graduate high school and remain focused on achieving career goals (Glessner and et al., 2017).

Career Exploration Supports SEL

In June 2019, the Ohio Department of Education adopted the Social and Emotional Learning Standards. These include standards which encourage the development of self-awareness, a trait that can help students accomplish personal goals and explore career paths. Through self-assessment of personal interests, strengths, and skills, and reflection on preferences for work environments, middle-grade students can build an awareness to help them prepare for their future. Next, students can explore education and training required using ODE's Career Connections Frameworks. To learn more about how INFOhio resources support social and emotional learning, visit the Teach with INFOhio blog for our series on INFOhio Resources Support Social Emotional Learning for grades 6-8.

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