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While college is a great goal and can benefit people immensely, for some students it’s simply not what path they want to take. There are many paths to success, especially with the huge variety of industries workers can go into. Some students would rather attend a technical school or get an associate’s degree than go to a traditional, four-year college. Other students have a career path waiting for them after graduation, either at a family business or somewhere they’ve already begun working. Technical jobs are vital to our economy and are better fits for some people than attending more school would be. However, many students are not ready to immediately enter a career field after high school; it’s a drastic change to suddenly graduate and have to become an independent adult. Here are some ways educators can help students prepare to enter a career field and become independent.

Teach practical life skills

One of the biggest oversights for most schools that leads to students not being prepared to enter the career field is the lack of practical skills taught. For many students, their parents do not think to teach them about life skills or lack the skills themselves. As students begin their careers and often move into their own apartments, they know very little about signing leases, opening credit cards, how to improve their credit score, or many other practical skills that can benefit them throughout their life. Offering opportunities for students to learn personal finance basics or other life skills is a great way to get them ready for a career.

Discuss professionalism

Another topic often overlooked is professionalism. There’s a drastic difference between how students can act at school versus how they should behave when in a more professional and business-oriented setting. Simply teaching students how to act more professional once they begin working full-time and giving them some advice to follow can go a long way.

Encourage job shadowing

Job shadowing is a great way for students to get some idea of what the field they want to work in is like. Most businesses are open to having students shadow employees, especially if that student is likely to work at that place in the future. Students can reach out on their own to places they’re interested in working or find existing programs to look into. Getting an idea of what a day in that profession is like is a fantastic way to help students prepare for working there and understand what they’ll be doing once they enter their chosen career field.

Offer workplace skill training

In addition to professionalism, there are many other skills that can benefit students once they graduate and enter the workforce. Giving tips for how to do well in interviews or working with students to create resumes are useful skills they can utilize as they begin searching for jobs after graduation. Some communities or schools even have professional clothes students can borrow when they go for their interviews. Encourage your students to utilize the resources they have available and begin looking for a job for after school while they’re still in high school so they don’t have to worry about it once they graduate.

Partner with local businesses

In addition to job shadowing, partnering with local businesses provides even more opportunities for students to get ready to enter a career field. Multiple businesses gives students a variety of options to look into. Many businesses looking to hire new employees may even be willing to train students or give them part-time jobs while still in school. For some schools, an agreement with a local technical school is a fantastic way for students to learn valuable skills for their future career while still attending high school; they can spend part of the day taking classes at the tech school and then be ready for their chosen career when they graduate from high school.