» Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is career development?
Career development is a lifelong process that opens a world of opportunities for students by helping them learn about themselves - their needs, abilities, interests, likes, and dislikes. This process includes learning about education and occupational choices and opportunities. It also includes obtaining the knowledge and skills to make life and career-planning decisions (National Consortium of State Guidance Leadership).
Why is career development important?
Research indicates that career development is important for a number of reasons:
  • It helps students develop and maintain a positive self-concept and effective interpersonal skills.
  • It helps students connect what they are learning in school to real-world situations.
  • It provides information and direction for students to set short- and long-term goals.
  • It increases students' knowledge of work and occupations.
  • It helps students develop leadership and work-readiness skills such as working in teams, making decisions, and solving problems (America's Career Resource Network).
Does career development make a difference?
Research demonstrates a "statistically significant academic benefit from the inclusion of career development in the curriculum"(Evans and Burck, 1992).

Further, studies have found that career development can have a significant impact on a student's postsecondary options. Students who have participated in career development planning are more likely to stay in school and see a greater connection between academics and the world of work.
How do I introduce career development in the classroom?
Look through the SWYA Professional Web site for resources and activities for all grades and subject areas. There are comprehensive programs to explore, as well as individual activities and lesson plans. In addition, VSAC's Career Planning Initiative team can work with you and your school to provide professional development training, curriculum recommendations, and development of goals to enhance or begin your career planning program.
At what age can I start introducing career development activities?
Elementary school is not too early to start teaching children about career awareness. It is important for children to understand how school is connected to the wider world. Learning to interact positively with others, building self-awareness by identifying abilities and interests, and developing an awareness of personal responsibility and work habits are all lifelong career management skills. Starting career development early also helps instill the idea that career management is a lifelong process. This is particularly important in the new economy, where people can expect to change jobs and perhaps even careers many times (America's Career Resource Network).
Why infuse career development into the curriculum?
When career development principles are infused into the curriculum, students have a greater understanding of the relationship between academics and the world of work. Career development activities draw connections between academic work and a student's future (ACRN). Students can participate in monitored work experiences, pre-apprenticeships, entrepreneurships, job shadowing, and community and neighborhood service. These experiences may help prevent students from dropping out. In addition, lessons in career planning address and support many areas of the Vermont Framework of Standards/Vital Results.
I teach social studies. Why should I care about career development?
Research indicates that it is critical for students to understand why they are in school and why they are learning different subjects. The more connections that students can make between their academic subjects and their application to the larger world, the more likely they are to apply themselves to their studies. Simply spending time discussing, teaching, or exploring careers as they relate to a particular subject can have a positive impact on a student's academic performance (Next Generation Initiative, Policy Brief 2007).
How does one's level of education affect income and career choices?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, people with more education make more money sooner and will be promoted more often than people who quit school before college (educational dividends Web site). High school graduates have more marketable skills and greater odds of finding employment. They also enjoy better health and have lower mortality rates (Levin et al. 2007).
Why is career development important in Vermont?
Several indicators point to a reduction of skilled workers in the state over the next several years. Vermont has the lowest birth rate of any state, and Vermont's median age is the second oldest in the country, behind Maine's. Vermont also has the highest rate of students attending college outside their home state. Unless we increase the career aspirations of younger Vermonters, employers will have difficulties finding skilled workers and, ultimately, may leave the state. In light of this, career development to help students achieve the knowledge and skills they need to be productive, successful citizens is critical to Vermont's economic future.
What is the difference between a career and a job?
A job defines a specific task or occupation that a person may have. For example, teaching is a job. A career is a broader term which refers to the variety of roles one has in life and work. For example, if after teaching for several years a teacher became a principal, his or her career could be defined more broadly as education, which includes both jobs as well as others (counselor, textbook writer, etc.). A career is a lifetime journey of building and making good use of your skills, knowledge, and experiences. It is the total of all events and relationships in our lives: family, friends, education, work, and leisure activities. http://career.mercedlearn.org/Resources/downloads/5_Prin_for_Car_Planning.pdf
Did you know?
  • Students who participate in career development activities are more likely to stay in school.
  • Students who participate in career development activities are more connected to their schoolwork and are more easily able to see the connections between school and life.
  • Career development increases students' academic performance.
  • The fastest growing jobs in Vermont require some kind of training or education after high school.
  • Vermont's high school graduation enrollment in postsecondary education lags behind the national average.
  • Students are less likely to continue their education if they do not understand how it will benefit their future.
  • Parental involvement has a significant impact on a student's aspirations.
  • Effective career planning programs result in increased participation in dual enrollment and AP courses.
  • Students who participate in a career-planning and decision-making process are more likely to graduate from secondary school and succeed in postsecondary education (ACRN research).
  • Career planning helps students develop and maintain a positive self-concept and effective interpersonal skills (ACRN).
  • Career development provides the information and direction for students to set short- and long-term goals.