On career exploration

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How many children have been asked the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Some want to fight fires, some want to help people overcome diseases and disabilities and some want to teach. Some have aspirations to play professional sports or to travel in outer space.

Although a few may follow one career path without deviation, many change their minds frequently.

Visiting places of employment provides a unique educational experience that encourages young people to think about their vocational goals and the preparation that may be required to pursue opportunities.

The “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work” is a nationwide program that encourages parents and other mentors to help children make connections between school learning and workplace activities. This annual observance falls on April 27 this year.

The Virginia Education Wizard (available online at vawizard.org) is another resource that can open the door to a wide range of career exploration possibilities.

Tools available on the website enable young people and others to assess their skills, interests and values and see how they align with a variety of potential paths.

The site also offers information about the education and training requirements of different careers. One interesting area enables visitors to answer questions about envisioned lifestyles to discover the annual salaries required to sustain different ways of living.

Summer camp programs also provide school-aged children opportunities to supplement classroom learning with hands-on activities.

Schools, along with youth development, faith-based and mentoring organizations, offer programs across a broad spectrum of options that include science, nature, academics and fitness. Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we offer summer camps to provide young people participatory experiences that enable them to explore cutting-edge topics and technologies, such as 3-D printing and robotics.

Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you discover an exciting path to the future.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College. His email address is al.roberts@southside.edu.