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Youth in Transition Toolkit:



Career exploration

Explore occupations and career possibilities

What careers interest the youth? Learning about, seeing and trying out various career possibilities sends a message about high expectations and allows youth to make informed decisions about their career path.

  • Awareness: Understand a broad range of career opportunities using Minnesota's career fields, clusters and pathways (PDF) career wheel and online career information systems. The document includes roles and qualifications for different positions, in-demand industries and occupations, non-traditional employment options and advancement opportunities. Participate in work-based learning experiences to increase awareness.
  • Exploration: Consider strengths, preferences and interests and match them to potential career opportunities (including identification of roles, qualifications, labor market information and advancement opportunities for positions of interest). Participate in work-based learning experiences that allow for exploration.
  • Preparation: Identify career goals and develop a plan of activities and services to achieve these goals. Align career goals with postsecondary education and training and independent living goals. Participate in work-based learning experiences that offer preparation for employment.
  • Implementation: Carry out plan and update it regularly based on changing interests and needs. Participate in work-based learning experiences to implement employment skills.

Job exploration counseling

Lightbulb LEARN

LEARN: Develop your knowledge

Learn how to support youth in exploring occupations and career possibilities.

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) offers a collection of curricula and lessons to help you provide job exploration counseling.  

American Student Assistance offers blog posts and other resources on career exploration.

Resources DO

DO: Work with youth

Find resources to help youth explore occupations and career possibilities.

The Minnesota career fields, clusters and pathways career wheel (PDF) depicts skills, career fields, career clusters and career pathways to help job seekers understand a range of career opportunities.

Minnesota State CAREERwise provides information on exploring careers, planning for postsecondary education and finding a job. Minnesota State also supports GPS Lifeplan, which helps students approach goalsetting and find resources to achieve their goals.

Provided by the Described and Captioned Media Program, Map it: What comes next? is a free interactive training designed for transition-age students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The training focuses on three questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • How do I get there?

The Career and education explorer from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) helps youth get information about jobs and training options across the state. DEED offers other labor market insight as well, including data tools — which allows youth to search for specific types of labor data.

Federally supported career information sites include:

  • CareerOne Stop: Career profiles and assessments
  • Get My Future: CareerOne Stop feature geared to high school students
  • My Next Move: Exploration tools to help students learn about careers and match their interests to career options
  • O*Net: Self-directed career exploration and assessment tools to help workers consider and plan for careers
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: Labor market tool
  • myFUTURE: Career and military exploration tool

Help youth explore transportation careers in Minnesota at the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence site.

Help youth explore information technology (IT) careers in Minnesota at the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence site.

BestPrep is a nonprofit agency that provides free programs to help sutdents build business, career and financial literacy skills. BestPrep facilitates mentorship opportuntieis, workplace tours and more.

Construct Tomorrow offers career exploration events across Minnesota.

The Institute for Educational Leadership offers a lesson plan on considering labor market information in your career choice (PDF).

Though not all career choices are based on current labor market information, it's important for youth to know where to find labor market information and how to understand which jobs are in demand, which industries are losing steam and how to make decisions based on growing career fields.

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