Students across Michigan are preparing for the annual winter break period; two weeks off from school where they can relax and recharge while celebrating the holidays. Many will spend the period hanging out with friends, binge watching Netflix and indulging in various sweet treats, but this year, there’s another activity that we advise young people and their parents pursuing. In recognition of December being Michigan Career and Exploration and Awareness Month, we are encouraging all families to discuss jobs and career pathways with their children.
“It’s important students explore careers early and often,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Interim Director Jeremy Hendges said. “This month is about highlighting the array of resources and opportunities to explore careers before students graduate from high school. But more than that, it’s an opportunity to bring those conversations about career exploration home from the classroom to the holiday dinner table so families and friends can share their experiences with their students, too.”
With more than 811,000 career openings across the state through 2024, Michigan is working to close the talent gap. State leaders believe that talent gap stems from a career awareness gap and counselors, educators, employers and parents all have a role in helping Michigan’s young people explore the hundreds of thousands of high-demand, high-wage careers available in the Great Lakes State.
“Too often, students leave high school without a plan for what’s next and are doing their career exploration in college,” Hendges added. “The more we can help students explore these opportunities earlier, the sooner we can close our talent gap and connect our young people with rewarding, great-paying careers here at home.”
To help parents and families with these conversations, we’ve pulled together several easy-to-use resources that can answer questions, facilitate dialogue and spark inspiration. They include:
- Going-PRO.com: This one-stop online tool provides students and all Michiganders with information on the state’s most high-demand, high-wage career opportunities in the professional trades, including salaries and job growth data, ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights professionals in their careers and how they got there and local schools and training facilities to get started in a Professional Trades career.
- Pathfinder: Students can roadmap their career path with the state’s Pathfinder tool that allows them to pick a career field and see, all at once, how to get there from training to full-time career.
- CareerOneStop.org: Families can learn details about any occupation with this resource, including what you might do on the job, how much you might earn and how much education or training you might need.
- MiTalent.org: Michigan Training Connect can assist students in making knowledgeable decisions concerning their professional future and career.
- MiBrightFuture.org: This robust and easy-to-use online system provides Michigan students valuable exposure to the world of work through interactions with real-life professionals, both helping students identify how to get a job they care about and employers find the qualified talent they need.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics created the OOH to help young people find career information on duties, education and training, pay and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
By using these resources this holiday season, parents can give their children a leg up when it comes to their future. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and our Macomb County team would be happy to provide assistance.
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.