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Career Planning Activities

Activity/Description Resources
The first step in decision making about work or specific occupations might be as simple as stating what is your dream for work. If you are not sure, then you should complete some different interest inventories to begin to narrow the field.
Career Awareness and Exploration
Many people tend to choose future jobs based on their knowledge of work roles among the people they contact at home and in the community. There is a whole world out there! First, learn about career clusters, then make better choices that align with your identified interests. Interviews and newspaper ads are only two examples of many ways to explore possible careers. Lets get started.
Self Assessment-Skills, Aptitudes, Strengths and Interests
Assessing interests is only one part of the process. Get a comprehensive picture of yourself by gathering information about:
  • Personal strengths,
  • Personality characteristics,
  • Work temperaments,
  • Specific skills already acquired,
  • Academic skills from school and assessments,
  • Identifying what you like to do in your spare time,
  • Determining aptitudes, and
  • Determining interests (yes, again!).
Take the same or new interest assessments periodicaly so new information can be considered. More information about aptitudes follows. All experiences are potentially part of the assessment process, so a careful examination and gathering of information into one place is really important. Let’s start with a close look at yourself.
Career Experiences
There are many options for gaining career experiences. Learning about careers by visiting different work sites and job shadowing (spending a day with an employee) are two ways to take a closer look at jobs of interest. Volunteer jobs also allow you to see a job close up. Trying parts of jobs in the workplace or performing simulated jobs lets you see if you actually like and have ability to learn some of the tasks that a job requires. Some school programs that provide experiences in the community for short time periods and part-time work while in school are other ways to learn about jobs and careers. Participating in a program that allows internship, apprenticeship or mentoring experiences provide additional opportunities. Talk to others about these options to decide what is best for you.
Self Assessment-Soft Skills and Academic Aptitude
Soft skills are skills universal to many jobs, so determining those you already have and those you need is important. You should identify those work characteristics that you desire, too, and explore the labor market in your area or the place where you are interested in living. Self-determination is a topic with identified skills that will be needed in the adult work, learning and living world. It is important to assess where you are and set goals for gaining skills in this area as you progress through school. Find additional information about self-determination in the Living section.
Informed Choice-Career Decision Making
After learning a little more about the career clusters and possible careers that you might be interested in exploring, take another career interest inventory. Now develop your career plan and create the pathway to get there. By the end of 9th grade you should have a good idea of your interests, aptitudes and skills to develop a career plan and identify goals to achieve it. During high school you will periodically review the plan and make adjustments as needed based on the activities and goals you are implementing.
Adult Supports
If you think you may need help during training, while taking classes after high school or at work, you might explore eligibility for disability services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While you are in school you are entitled to receive services that support education. You may have and IEP or a Section 504 Plan. After high school you are responsible for seeking the needed services you might need. It is important to know how to get those services so you can be as independent as possible. The ability to talk about your disability and to seek services in an appropriate way is a vital skill for anyone that might need support in adult settings. The WV Division of Rehabilitation Services is a good support and starting point while you are still in school.

Who can help me?

WorkForce WV
Workforce WV offers valuable employment and training services to help you with your job hunt.

WV Division of Rehabilitation Services
WV Division of Rehabilitation Services counselors can help high school students with disabilities prepare and plan for their working future.

WV Adult Education
WV Adult Education helps adult learners gain skills needed to obtain a job, advance in their current job, or enter a new career field. The core academics include reading, mathematics, English, and computer skills.