What do you want to be when you grow up?

Velta WorleyWhen you were in junior high or high school, what type of career did you want? Were you looking at college, and if so, how did you decide what to major in? I realize that my own high school experience was lacking in both reality and guidance towards the future. Very often our decisions are made based on what we see around us, what’s popular at the time, or even influenced by family and friends.

When I was growing up Jacques Cousteau was very popular. He had regular documentary programs on television and produced many colorful photo books on sea life. I loved watching all the programs about a variety of fish and mammals that live in the ocean, and loved learning all I could about the genus and species of organisms, so I decided I wanted to major in marine biology.
No one asked me “well ma’am, where do you think you will find a job with that major?”

When I think back about the only job opportunities I might have had would have been working at Sea World. And there weren’t too many colleges that offered degrees in marine biology either. I’m not sure my choice would have paid the bills. But I loved the subject!

I did get a college degree, but didn’t become a marine biologist. Still, to this day, I love the ocean, love to snorkel, and enjoy going to aquariums whenever I can. What do you want to be when you grow up?

This past summer I had the great pleasure of being involved in a program for high school students called College Summer Institutes. Workforce Solutions, in partnership with Project Grad, provided two week cohorts at a variety of local Community Colleges between June and August. What a great experience this was for the students who attended. The curriculum was shared between Project Grad content and Workforce Solutions’ When I Grow Up lessons. Our College Summer Institutes gave students the opportunity for college and career exploration, which very often is not available during the regular school year. It gave the students real life decision making activities that will be useful for their future choices for colleges and careers.

On the last evening of the Institute, student projects were highlighted in videos and live presentations, showing their dreams and aspirations for the future. These students really learned to dream big! At the same time they acquired knowledge on the value of Labor Market Information in determining career choices, how to create their elevator speech, and the costs of getting a college education (surprisingly there are affordable choices too!)

Dreams are great – keep striving for your dream! At the same time, look at the local labor market as you make decisions about your future education and career opportunities, and take time to explore all the wonderful options that are available to you.

Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with adult education and literacy, and employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, and over 8 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.

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