There are kids in high school who have no idea what they want to do for their career. Many students don’t have guidance of their future besides their parents and what they do for a living. Many other students have a dream career in mind, but don’t have the knowledge of how to make it come true. Most students don’t have work experience to help narrow down the type of career that is right for them. The minority of students have all of these and pursue their dreams in the correct way. Wake County should make a goal of turning the minority into the majority. Allowing the lack of career education, job experience, and guidance in local schools, Wake county chooses to accept the restriction of economic mobility in the community as a whole. With the introduction of a career education class, career counselors, and internships students can go farther in their future.
The lack of economic mobility in Wake County starts with education. The National Center for Education Statistics states, “About 30 percent of undergraduates in associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs who had declared a major had changed their major at least once”. Don’t Wake County students deserve a smaller percentage This percentage is largely due to a lack of career education in Wake County public schools. Without guidance, children don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. This is especially true due to public schools mainly skipping on the biggest part of everyone’s lives, their career. In North Carolina a survey was taken to show that, “The students in their sample had stated specific and stable career goals, they had not finished exploring potential careers” (Lyseng). This general summation shows that many students are stuck on one career and have not researched into more careers in case their first choice is wrong. Students then go to college and spend thousands of dollars on classes just to realize the career they thought was right for them, won’t be a good fit. Some students bounce back and choose a different study and get their diploma. Other students don’t have the funds and must finish out their major of doing something that isn’t their passion or dropout entirely. Many students from low economic backgrounds already have a hard-enough time paying for college in the first place. If the major they chose in college turns out to be the wrong degree for poor students then they will have a much harder time moving up the economic ladder. Without the right guidance many students take the wrong path to get to their career of choice. Many students regret not taking certain clubs or classes when they were in high school because they didn’t know that it was tied to their career. Due to the lack of guidance for some students they don’t have the knowledge of how to get a better job than others. Many students in the lower economic class don’t have the help that higher income students have. Parents of higher income students know the importance of seeing your guidance counselor to take the right classes. Higher income families also know the importance of college education which is why even if money wasn’t a factor, then the economic student ratio would most likely stay the same. Approximately only 31% of the population in wake county graduate from college (“opportunity”). Which means that the vast majority of students want a job that doesn’t require college, could not afford or get accepted into college, or were unable to finish their degree in college. This ultimatum is also known as “bachelor’s degree or bust”, and can be seen far too often in the students that have faced poverty. To remove this ultimatum and talk to students about the many options they can take would be better for all of us.
Educating students more on the topic of careers and what training is necessary for each student would help Wake County raise the amount of economic mobility, while helping many other problems in the community as well. A shocking Forty-Seven percent of those born into poverty will stay in poverty (Petrilli). Such a significant number compared to the ninety percent of those who graduate from secondary education achieving upward mobility shows there can be change. Guidance helps gives students a foundation of a plan, but without the proper classes, students will only receive a minimal amount of career education from their teachers who are trying to prepare them for the class test at the end of the semester. Without the right experience, many students don’t know the workplace, day to day, or responsibilities for the career they’re interested in. These setbacks make it harder for students to make a decision on their future. Giving students the opportunity to make a knowledgeable decision would decrease the amount of economic mobility in the county as a whole, which is why there needs to be a solution.
The best solution to these problems are three simple changes to public education. One additional class, one additional employee, and a few more opportunities for the students. One class should be added to the curriculum that teaches the training involved for several different kinds of jobs, and the real-life scenarios held in each of those jobs. Each student will have to create presentations talking about what career interested them the most, the training involved, where they will receive this training, what grades they need to enter the training institution, and what company they believe is the best fit for them. This class will help all students understand what steps they need to take to achieve this goal. Additional to the class, students should be given more opportunities to work for internships in businesses around the county. This gives students experience in different job fields to use throughout their lives. This experience will also help these students make more educated decisions on what jobs they will or will not want to have. The incentive for getting kids to work for internships will be a better-looking college application and overall life experience. The last step would be an employee in each public high school to scout out for potential internships throughout the year. This employee which would be best described as a career counselor would also take the information from the mandatory class mentioned earlier and apply it to choosing possible internships the student may want to take. The career counselor would work alongside the guidance counselor to inform students of what grades, classes, and clubs they may want to join based on the career they chose in that class. If the student changes their mind at any point throughout their high school career, they only need to send an email to their local career counselor about the change the counselor will work it into the students file. The career counselor will then make adjustments to what grades, clubs, internships, and classes the student should take and send the changes to the student. This way all students have a file they can look at which will recommend what they should do throughout their four years to stay on track. The total change that Wake County public education will have to make would only be two additional staff members in each public high school, and an extra class added to the curriculum. Each of these steps will work towards better career education and will make a difference.
Due to these steps’ students will now gain a better chance in their college education and in their future careers. Internships provide connections with companies that may get the student into a career there in the future. This is supported by a study taken by Endicott College showing that sixty percent of the employers that had internships would “be more likely to consider a candidate for full-time employment if he/she had completed their internship” (Saltikoff). Which proves that the majority of internships give the student an edge in the company compared to other applicants. Along with internships, career counselors can use the information from student’s grades and their progress in a class such as career education can be used “to provide evidence for the benefits of a post-secondary planning group for students to increase their perceived readiness for life after high school” (Hilling, 27). This statement is written by a Elanor Hilling, who put together data about students who took these sorts of classes and it increased their minds for what they could expect in the job market. While many most of these benefits are for the student in which they should be, some are beneficial to Wake County as well. . More students from Wake county will go farther in their careers which will bring Wake County a good reference. More successful businesses will be created in the area. More jobs will be created. Less unemployment, less homelessness, and less poverty. Students from Wake county will have the upper hand compared to students in other counties because of the experience and knowledge they now have of the real world and the future they see for themselves. The high schools in the area will have a lower dropout rate and a higher graduation rate because students now know how important school is. Making Wake County better starts with successfully improving the careers of our students and increasing economic mobility for the poor.
The beginning to success starts with education. This most certainly applies to Wake County’s economic mobility. How does one plan to achieve anything if they do not know where to start or where they are going? Planning for your career is a big step that all students should take so they know the way to success in the field of their passion. Career education is the way to keep many students in Wake County from being stuck in the bottom economic class or dropping out of school, whether high school or college. The lack of career education is one reason why a mere 31% of students graduate from college in Wake County. Technical colleges and universities are the best way we currently know to increase economic mobility for the next generation that lives in poverty. Without career education in our schools, economic mobility will constantly remain a struggle for those who live in poverty.