Helping students with disabilities define and refine their career paths
The career development process encourages students to learn about themselves, explore, dream and reach their goals. The process for secondary students has three parts that may occur in sequence or revisited as needed:
- Discovery or Assessment: This part of the process helps students answer the question, “Who am I?” by assessing or discovering their interests, values, skills, aptitudes, talents and other characteristics through formal and informal assessments.
- Career Exploration: This part of the process helps students answer the question, “Where am I going?” by exploring career and labor market information and matching careers with personal characteristics they identified in the discovery stage. Information collected at this stage includes career descriptions and research, career clusters, educational requirements, career responsibilities and skills and salary ranges.
- Action or Planning: Once students have identified a potential career path, the third stage helps them answer the question, “How do I get there?” Career planning includes identifying education and training options, potential challenges and strategies and self-marketing activities to achieve the desired career goal. Teachers, counselors and family members may assist students in developing the career plan or strategy (Florida Department of Education Career Education and Product Distribution Office, 2007).
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