Career Exploration

Tools to strengthen youth exposure and connection to careers

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Youth need opportunities to explore careers at every stage of their development

Research shows early introductions to the world of work are essential to future career choices.

Young people can start building their expectations for careers as early as age 11. Research also asserts youth should have access to quality information by career professionals, positive encounters with employers and employees, first-hand experiences in workplaces and opportunities to gain career advice and support based on their interests and diverse needs.

Youth also require support to link learning with careers. Career exploration programming provides youth opportunities for exposure, self-discovery, first-hand experiences and ways to build their own network connections.

Use these tried and true Club practices to integrate career exploration into programming

Strategies & Practices


Decorate Club program areas to spotlight careers associated with those spaces. For example: Display pictures in the art room of photojournalists, musicians and graphic designers. Hang posters in the gym about coaching, sports medicine or sports officiating.


Incorporate activities or discussions that help youth explore careers related to programs such as Girls Who Code, Gardening Club and Junior Achievement.


Recruit professionals from your Club’s board to serve as mentors for youth or as the facilitators of programs like SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood.


Encourage youth to ask about jobs within organizations when they talk with guest speakers or go on workplace field trips. This will increase their exposure to different careers.


Have Club professionals pick youth and train them to be “junior leaders,” assignments to help in the Club and explore youth development careers.


Prepare youth for successful workplace field trips by setting clear expectations for their behavior. Also encourage youth to research the company and prepare relevant questions to ask employees about their careers, education and training.


Partner with college professors who require students to complete service-learning hours or practicums. Encourage educators to recruit program volunteers or part-time staff to facilitate STEM, arts or health programming and serve as role models for Club youth.


Join the Chamber of Commerce to connect with local businesses and ask them to provide guest speakers and program volunteers, host field trips or job shadowing events, and help organize community events like job fairs or arts or science festivals.


Team up with local employers to find and recruit professionals from traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to serve as mentors or career coaches for youth who also identify as members of those groups.