Author:
Shelly VanderMeulen, Drea Weiner
Subject:
Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Upper Primary, Middle School, High School
Tags:
Career Exploration, EDP, Educational Development Plans
License:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Northwestern Lower Michigan STEM Career Profiles

Northwestern Lower Michigan STEM Career Profiles

Overview

Northwestern Lower Michigan MiSTEM Network and Northwest Michigan Works! are excited to share Career Profiles that give a brief overview of the main tasks, career advice, and some of the area schools and organizations where you can get more information or education relating to that career.
 
More profiles and lessons are coming soon so please check back!
 
 

Career Profiles in Northwestern - Profiles Updated

Welcome to Career Exploration!

Career exploration is no longer something that can be summed up in "I want to be ____ when I grow up" because most students will be several things in their lifetimes and many of our elementary students may have jobs that don't currently exist.  How do we prepare them for that?  

These lessons are a way to bring the true meaning of STEM into career exploration.  It should be an integrated, cross-curricular, problem-solving, and critical thinking process.  That is what students will need to do, not only in their jobs but will need to use those skills to help determine what types of training, education, and jobs to pursue.

These lessons and materials are best used over a longer period of time offering students time to learn, sort, and reorganize the materials and information in the lessons.  The more the students are encouraged to integrate this process, the more comfortable they will be with sorting, identifying, and exploring the opportunities around them.

65% of kindergarten students will have jobs that don’t currently exist.

The bottom line is that there’s no way to prepare students for specific careers when we can’t even fathom what those might be. Even now, nearly half of what students learn in their first year of technical school is outdated by the time they graduate. Instead, the key to molding job-ready graduates is to teach students how to live — and learn — at the intersections.

The STEM and STEAM acronyms...are merely placeholders for the need to eliminate silos in education and focus on interdisciplinary learning.

“Eventually all subjects need to be integrated.”

ISTE Blog, Nicole Krueger, November 20

Please enjoy these lessons with your students and feel free to send us any ideas, successes, or suggestions for improvement.

Additional Sources:  Give me a Hand Activity by Debra Miller, Lakeview Middle School

Thank you,

Shelly and Drea

The attached career profiles are from people with careers in or affecting northwestern Michigan.  These profiles can be used for students to explore more about any particular job or company they may be interested in.  If you would like some lessons and activities take look at Section 2 below.

When using the library of career profiles attached, have students explore what they find interesting and look up some of the options for post-secondary learning.  Encourage students to sort the careers by different variables.  One is to group according to career pathways.  These are based on which pathway they most fall under.  It can be identified by the color on the top of the profile where the name and picture are:  

  1. Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Trades (gray)
  2. Health Sciences (red)
  3. Business and Information Technology (blue)
  4. Agriscience/Natural Resources (green)
  5. Human Services (yellow)
  6. Arts and Communication (purple)

You can also suggest students identify different jobs at the same company; similar jobs at different companies; one person with multiple roles at a company, or a person with different roles at different companies.  Students can also look at whether the jobs are indoor versus outdoor, desk versus active, lots of interaction with people versus little interaction, and even the types of tools they may use in their job. You can use these variations to illustrate how there is not always a simple, straightforward "map" to get to your desired career.  It can take different turns and twists and often requires perseverance and initiative as well as understanding what you like and value in a job.

Check back for updates.  More profiles will be added and updated as the year progresses.

 

Career Profile Lessons: What is a Job?

Sources used to support:

 

 

Focus: Grades 4th-9th 

Goals:  

  1. Build awareness around careers

  2. Develop the ability to sort careers based on different variables (location, type, tools, etc)

 

Materials: 

  1. Computer (optional)

  2. Jamboard templates, post-it notes, or index cards

 

Time:  15-30 minutes, depending on number of careers and number of sorting variables

 

 


 

Tell students we are going to take a look at career exploration.  This means you will explore the different kinds of careers out there and learn how to sort and examine them based on certain criteria such as level of training, indoors or outdoors, teamwork versus independent work, the tools people use and more.

See attached lesson for more details.

Career Profiles Lessons: A Place to Start

 

Focus: Grades 4th-12th 

Goals:  

  1. Build awareness around careers

  2. Identify and connect to people and careers around them 

 

Materials: 

  1. Computer (optional)

  2. Copy of  worksheet- My Network:  A Place to Start (digital/Google slides) or paper/PDF

 

Time:  10-15 minutes

 

 


 

Ask students if they know what a network is.  They may talk about wifi, computer networks, or social media.  You can share that it is about connections, whether they are wires, media, or people.  

 

It is defined as “a group or system of interconnected people or things.”  People have networks in a classroom, a school, a business, on social media, or in any other group that is connected in some way. A network can be used to gather information to meet the needs of others and yourself.  It can be used for social needs, physical needs, or job-related needs.  Within a job-related network, it can be used to find jobs or find opportunities to learn and grow.

 

Tell the students that they are going to take a look at the networks they already have in order to learn more about the jobs around them

See attached lesson for more details.

Career Profiles Lessons: Taking A Closer Look

 

Focus: Grades 4th-12th 

Goals:  

  1. Build awareness around careers

  2. Identify and connect to people and careers around them 

 

Materials: 

  1. Copy of  worksheet- My Network: Taking Closer Look (digital-copy)

 

Time:  15-20 minutes (Follow-up to review responses can vary depending on how you have students present their information.)

 

 


 

Review some of the things students have learned so far about jobs, careers, career pathways, and networks. 
 

Ask them to look at the My Network worksheet they did from a previous lesson.  Have students share some of the people who are in their network and what kind of jobs they have. 

 

Networking is the most successful way of finding a meaningful job and attaining career success. 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships.  (Important Networking Statistics, 2022)

 

This means that having a good network will likely offer you more information, opportunities, mentors, and jobs.  Right now, students will use their network to learn new things.  If you have older students they can use the network to seek out job shadows, internships, or even part-time jobs.

  See attached lesson for more details.

Career Profiles Lessons: Exploring the Profiles, Part 1

 


Focus: Grades 4th-12th 

Goals:  

  1. Build awareness around careers

  2. Identify and sort careers 

  3. Research careers and businesses of interst 

 

Materials: 

  1. Computer 

  2. Jamboard template- Career Sort-Students 

  3. Career Profile Inventory List

 

Time:  15-20 minutes

 

 


 

Ask students if they remember what a job is.  Review the definitions and ideas they came up with during your first discussion.  (See lesson:  What is a Job?)  

 

Now ask them “What is a career?” Brainstorm answers.  Lead to the definition of a career as a series of jobs that gives you more training and experience in the field(s) in which you are interested and skilled.  Webster’s dictionary defines a career as:

  • a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling, such as a career in medicine-often used before another noun

  • a field or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life, such as Washington's career as a soldier.

 

The same job can be a “job” for one person, or part of a “career” path for another person.  For example, someone who works at a bank as a teller may be working a job if going to college or trade school to pursue a career in health or manufacturing.  It would be a part of a career path if someone was interested in pursuing a career in finance or business.

 

As job changes are increasing, career paths are becoming more varied.  Careers are the culmination of the experience and knowledge you have gained from your collective jobs.

See attached lesson for more details.

 

 

Career Profiles Lessons: Exploring the Profiles, Part 2


Focus: Grades 4th-12th 

Goals:  

  1. Build awareness around careers

  2. Identify and sort careers 

  3. Research careers and businesses of interest 

 

Materials: 

  1. Computer 

  2. Jamboard template- Career Sort-Students 

  3. Career Profile Inventory List

 

Time:  15-20 minutes

 

 


Reference:  There are often 6 general categories of careers as described in the lessons below.  Some sources such as Xello and Career OneStop break them down even further into 17 more specific categories for older students.  If you would like to  

Start by taking a few minutes to review what you did last time.  

  • What is the difference between a job and a career?

  • What were some of the career profiles you looked at?  

  • What were some of the ways you sorted the jobs?

 

Now focus on the main Career Clusters/Pathways:

  • Have students look at the profiles and identify the six colors at the top.  [Note:  As we are a STEM focused organization, the majority of the profiles are tied to the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Trades or the Fixing and Building Path (Gray Profiles).]

    • How many colors (on the top of the profile) there are? 

    • Are there things those profiles with the same colors have in common? 

    • What are some other jobs that you would put into those groups?  

    • Do you know anyone who is in one of those jobs or career groups?

  • There are 6 main groups, or pathways,  that people often put jobs in.  Explain to students that this helps people look at what kinds of things they want to do or what kinds of problems they want to solve with their work.  Let students know that some jobs may fit in more than one group.  Things are not always in a clear pathway, but that is ok.  Things are rarely clearcut in real life.  For example, a veterinarian could be considered in health care since it is medical work or it could be considered agriculture since it is work with animals.  (It is frequently grouped under agriculture in most listings, but it does have a strong healthcare component.)

Careers in Career Pathways (Optional lesson to introduce Career Pathways).

Appreciation to Kelly Miller and other CharEm Intermediate School District counselors for the idea for this activity.

Careers in Career Pathways

 

Address-Grades 4th-12th        

 

Goals:  Orientation to Careers and Career Pathways

Understanding the 6 Basic Career Pathways

 

 

TimeActivityDetails
10 minsMatching Job Titles and Job DescriptionsStudents are randomly handed out cards that have different job titles or job descriptions on them (these may vary depending on grade level).  They need to move around the group and find the title or description that matches their card.  Can do it without speaking to provide a greater challenge, especially if it’s a very chatty group.
10 minsAssigning Jobs to ClustersStudents read off the job title and description and the facilitator places the job on the list on the board grouping them according to Career pathways without telling the students, encouraging them to “guess” the pattern. (Facilitator should have the jobs in pathways “key” ahead of time so they can write them on the board in groups without labeling them.)
5 minsIdentifying Clusters as Career PathwaysHave students identify patterns in each group and label each career pathway.  
  • Manufacturing, Engineering, and Industrial Trades:  These are jobs that frequently attract people who like to know how things work, take them apart, build them, and make them better. The fixers.  In many of these careers, you need to use math, science, and engineering skills to various degrees.  Technology has become essential in virtually every career.
  • Health Sciences:  These are all related to your health.  They may include taking care of the body or the equipment used for testing and screening the body for problems.  Bio-tech, and healthcare in general, is a big growing industry.
  • Agrisciences or Natural Resources: This is anything to do with farming, nature, animals, and the environment.  A veterinarian would fall under here but some might also think it could go under Health Sciences (which is usually about people).
  • Business and Information Technology:  This is the area where people who like numbers, banking, working with customers, management, and all of the IT work that is continuing to grow faster and faster.
  • Human Services:  These are all jobs that help people.  How many of you are called “helpers” at school or at home or at work?
  • Arts and Communication:  These are the jobs where people need great communication skills, some more verbally and some more visual.  Some of the products of these jobs you see every day in advertising, on your phone, games, TV shows, and more.
Talk about how some careers may fit in more than one career pathway.  Have them look at which career pathway do they think looks most interesting to them. Even if they are not sure what job they may want, maybe they are leaning toward a career pathway.
10 minsDebriefWhat did you learn that you didn’t know before?  What would you like to still learn about careers and career pathways?

 

 

Things to bring: Job title and description cards, dry erase markers.

Have available or bring:  Dry erase board or Jamboard