Students are often asked what they will do after high school. Many students will indicate that they are going to college, in most cases a four-year college. However, many students are unsure what college they will attend, what degree they will pursue, or understand that their intended pathway may not need a traditional four-year degree.
Career Readiness practices focus on making all students aware of postsecondary pathways. The approach creates Awareness opportunities for students in elementary school, Exploration initiatives for students in middle school, and preparation programs for high school-age students. Postsecondary pathways can include going directly into the workforce or pursuing a military branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. The path could lead a student into entering an apprenticeship training program like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 58 or the Michigan Laborers' Training and Apprenticeship Institute. 2 Year Community Colleges offer many applied science degrees in high demand fields like information technology, mechatronics, machining, and automotive technology. Four-year colleges provide bachelor's degree programs and beyond that may be required for a certain professional occupation.
It is important for students to identify academic, technical, and career readiness requirements for their intended postsecondary pathway. Industry recognized certifications, like JAVA programming, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), or ASE Automotive credential that can be earned through a preparation program like career technical education in high school, could significantly enhance a student's skillset and ability to apply for an entry-level position within a career pathway of interest. Many career and technical education programs also offer articulated credit at many community and certain four-year colleges throughout Michigan. Articulated credit rewards entry-level college coursework to students, allowing them to bypass foundational courses, saving time and money as they work toward their degree.
Students who attend an Oakland Schools Technical Campus (OSTC) have an Oakland Technical Early College option, which allows them the opportunity to begin their postsecondary path while still in high school! Beginning in 11th grade, students take a course each semester at Oakland Community College (OCC) while also taking high school and OSTC coursework. These students stay on to complete an added 5th year of high school. During that added year, students are full-time at OCC and have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree at the end of the program. The program covers college tuition and required books. Students completing this program have entered the workforce in high demand, high skill positions at companies like Frimo, Raven Engineering, Williams International, etc., while other students have continued to pursue educational training at various four-year universities.
Students are being exposed to Career Readiness initiatives throughout Oakland County districts, as they have more experiences, the hope is that students will be able to have a clear answer to that very common question, "Where are you going to go after high school?"