LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Gov. Rick Snyder has declared December as Career Exploration and Awareness Month, building on efforts to close the state’s talent gap by elevating the many pathways and resources for residents and students in Michigan to access rewarding, good-paying careers.
“A strong, well-trained workforce is critical to continuing Michigan’s economic momentum, which is why I’ve made developing talent my top priority,” Snyder said. “By encouraging students, parents and jobseekers alike to actively engage in career exploration, we will ensure Michigan is a place where our students receive the skills they need to compete and succeed, and a place where employers come to find top-notch talent.”
Career Exploration and Awareness Month is part of Snyder’s efforts to bolster the state’s talented workforce and make Michigan a national leader in career training and education.
With more than 100,000 open jobs in the state, Michigan residents have tremendous opportunities for good careers – and many options to get the skills they need for those jobs.
State leaders are looking to eliminate a talent gap caused, in part, by a career awareness gap. Awareness efforts are focused on students, but also on teachers, counselors and other people who influence young people preparing for their future.
Snyder in June directed the Department of Talent and Economic Development, and the Michigan Department of Education to form the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which brings together education, business, labor and community leaders to help students learn about career options and provide schools with more tools to enhance programs.
“Many students leave high school and college without a solid career path and don’t know where to find information on in-demand skills that lead to rewarding, good-paying careers,” TED Director Roger Curtis said. “There is no shortage of career opportunities in Michigan. We just need to keep spreading the word about all of the pathways leading to good-paying, in-demand careers in our state – particularly those in the Professional Trades.”
The alliance unveiled a comprehensive plan to expand and strengthen career technical education statewide.
As part of the plan, Gov. Snyder recently signed legislation requiring school counselors to receive training on career and college advising to help guide the decision-making of high school students.
The alliance also called for robust career exploration class in middle school or high school to help students become aware of options. A bill in the state Legislature would require some career exploration work at all grades.
Earlier this year, Snyder launched the second phase of the state's Going PRO in Michigan campaign designed to change the discussion about the Professional Trades, enhance career and technical education programs and better connect the business and education communities so Michigan students can embrace opportunities for rewarding careers.
The state also recently debuted Pathfinder, a state-of-the-art career exploration tool aimed at helping students, parents, counselors and jobseekers make informed decisions about careers and training.
The free website site includes Michigan-specific planning data, including detailed job projections, annual openings, growth potential, salaries and school in Michigan that offer training.
As part of Career Exploration and Awareness Month, high schools across Michigan will receive toolkits for administrators and counselors to harness the potential of Pathfinder and Career Exploration, helping them use the tools to assist students in learning about career opportunities and planning their future.