College & Workforce Readiness

Calif. and Michigan Focus Programs on Career Skills

By Rhea R. Borja — July 11, 2006 1 min read

California and Michigan recently introduced online resources and curricula to help high school students explore careers and learn self-management skills for the increasingly competitive job market.

The Reality Check section of the California CareerZone Web site helps students calculate housing expenses.

Last month, California state schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell launched the California CareerZone, for both public school students and adults, and a middle and high school career-development curriculum, Real Game California.

The Web site, www.cacareerzone.org, offers three exercises to identify career interests. Based on a user’s responses, the CareerZone produces jobs from a database of 900 careers, and includes information on wages, qualifications, and job characteristics, as well as links to job openings and videos that give overviews of the occupations.

The Web site also provides a Reality Check feature that helps students determine how much education they need, and how much money they need to earn, to live comfortably in California.

Real Game California is a classroom-based curriculum that offers role simulations in which students learn self-management and decisionmaking skills, as well as the connection between education and jobs.

“These resources … give students a realistic look into the amount of education they will need to get their ideal jobs,” Mr. O’Connell said in a statement.

In Michigan last month, the Lansing-based Michigan Virtual University announced a partnership with Washington-based Blackboard Inc., an education software company, for an online career-development course. The course, Career Development in a Global Economy, is expected to be taken by as many as 450,000 Michigan high school students over the next three years, starting this fall.

The announcement came soon after the state legislature approved, and Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm signed into law, new high school graduation requirements, which include a provision for an online course or online learning experience. (“Michigan Poised to Implement Tough New Graduation Rules,” April 12, 2006.)

“[This course] will help our students understand how to thrive in a changing economy, and it will teach them how to learn online, something they will need to do throughout their work lives,” Gov. Granholm, a Democrat, said in a statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week

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