Career Preparation Is Not Career Awareness

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

There is a distinct difference between career preparation and career awareness. The former prepares students for careers. The latter teaches about careers.

High schools, for decades, have been preparing students for well-paying careers in construction, manufacturing, technology, and numerous other fields. The training is specific to the needs of a particular career. Many of the programs, along with preparing students for entry-level positions, provide solid postsecondary connections. The curriculum is narrow but deep. Curricula are often developed by national industry groups.

Career awareness gives students an understanding of the careers available to them. Students interested in medicine, for example, learn of careers that range from nursing assistant to brain surgeon. With such a broad curriculum, the depth is limited. But upon graduation, students should be able to better assess the postsecondary career-preparation choices available to them.

Most secondary-level career-preparation programs are designed to serve long-standing manpower needs, such as carpentry, auto technology, and cooking. Between the creation of the concept of a career-preparation course and the graduation of such a course's first entry-level employees, a high school program needs four or five years to move from a proposal to budgeting, delivery of a three- to four-year curriculum, and graduation. Colleges, although more flexible, also require significant time to respond to employer needs.

An alternative to a school-based program for businesses, such as the one needing machine operators mentioned in your article, is for the training to take place at the business site, where the machines and the operators qualified to serve as trainers are readily available. This is career preparation.

For either to be successful, career preparation and career awareness need clear definitions.

Joseph Crowley
Executive Director
Rhode Island Association of School Principals
Providence, R.I.

Vol. 34, Issue 28, Page 24

Published in Print: April 22, 2015, as Career Preparation Is Not Career Awareness
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories