Every now and then, you just have to give a shout out to a school district who is doing a great job in an area that has the potential to concretely improve the lives of their children in their community.
And because the focus of the Alabama School Connection is sharing meaningful and useful information widely, this shout out is to Shelby County Schools for their incredible compilation of resources for students who are considering their future career choices. Their “My Future” web site is a treasure trove of information for students and their parents wanting to learn more about career opportunities.
The web site is part of a larger program that gives students an opportunity to plan what their post-high-school lives will look like. The program’s goals are to create students who are college and career ready. Traditional academic offerings are coupled with career tech opportunities at the Shelby County School of Technology to create a comprehensive post-high-school plan for students.
Governor Robert Bentley and State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice praised Shelby County Schools’ My Future program along with career tech programming as a model to connect education and work force needs. Bentley chose Shelby County School of Technology as the site to announce the creation of a PK-20 Career and College Ready Task Force. (Here’s more on that task force from al.com.)
Superintendent Randy Fuller, in remarks to the Shelby County Reporter, said that the program was created by having school administrators work to identify needed jobs in the Birmingham area. Administrators then develop school programs to train for those jobs. Administrators meet regularly with officials from the University of Montevallo and Jefferson State Community College to determine what students need from their high schools to get them ready for college.
Check Out the My Future Web Site
The My Future web site is a testament to Shelby County Schools’ commitment to both the children being educated in their county schools and economic development in their community.
You really have to just page through the site to see the huge expanse of resources compiled all in one intuitively-designed interface. Poke around. Click a few things. It includes information on income expectations, additional training, and job outlooks. Links are provided to state and national career development tools as well. It’s a one-stop shop for beginning to plan a career, in my opinion.
One incredibly helpful resource (at least for folks hoping to find work in Shelby County) is the listing of Shelby County employers broken down by career interest area.
Look also at how career interest areas are broken down by what type of additional training may be needed to reach your career goals. Here’s “Health Sciences”, for example.
College and Career Information Is Provided in an Organized Way
I suppose what most impresses me is that college and career information are provided on the same page, and that this information is provided on the DISTRICT web site.
It takes only two clicks to get to My Future from the Shelby County Schools district web site: “Students”, then “My Future”. If you start with the “Parents” click, it takes the additional “Guidance and Testing” click to then find “My Future” for a total of three clicks. (Y’all know how I feel about burying information deep in a web site….it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to get anywhere.)
Shelby County Schools consistently provides meaningful information to their school community in an organized way. In both Transparency Project reviews (2009 and 2010), Shelby County provided more information that was sought in the review on their district web site than any district in the state. Their web site interface is intuitive and user-friendly. It is obvious their goal is to share as much information as possible with their school community. Pretty impressive for a district that has nearly 29,000 students and 39 schools.
Questions for You – Start Those Conversations
What kind of online career planning resources does your school district offer to the children and families in your community? Is your school district working with your local chamber of commerce or other regional workforce partners to identify what types of jobs will be needed in your area in the future?
Have you taken the time to talk with your child about whether her career choice (yes, we all change our minds many times in a lifetime) will provide a level of income she hope to achieve? Have you talked with your child about the type of training he will need to be eligible to get the job of his choice? Don’t assume that your child’s school guidance counselors will have that discussion with your child. Take responsibility for starting those conversations yourself.
The My Future web site is a fabulous resource for all of us. Thank you, Shelby County Schools.
If you know of a great online resource being offered by your school district, please let others know by posting it here or on the ASC facebook page.