Though it often takes some interpretation by a counselor or teacher, career readiness assessments can make a positive and lasting impression on student success.
This Week's Storyteller
Tiffany Huie has been the Career Development Coordinator for Dixon High School and Dixon Middle School in Onslow County Schools in North Carolina since 2018. Before that, she was a middle school counselor for six years. Even as a middle school counselor, she had a passion for career development and career counseling.
Tiffany lives in Holly Ridge, North Carolina with her husband Chris and their three cats, Keke, Little, and Bellamy.
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Welcome to another week and another edition of the Encouraging Words for School Counselors podcast. I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. Thanks for being with us.
Hey, before we start, just a note that we realize for so many of you, the start of this school year has been a major challenge — for some, even greater than last year, and that was bad enough. We know there’s very little we can do, but we DO recognize it’s been a tough year for many of you — even though it’s only September — and we hope this podcast can be even a bit of a bright spot in your otherwise challenging week.
One of Kuder’s many career specialists around the country is Tiffany Huie who is not only a school counselor but a Career Development Coordinator at Dixon High School in Hollyridge, North Carolina.
There has long been an assumption with career readiness work, according to Tiffany, that helping students identify possible careers will prepare them for college, but Tiffany says she’s seeing a broader focus in her career exploration efforts.
I feel like with the shift that’s happening in our — and I feel like honestly, in our country, but especially in our area — we’re shifting more towards: College is great, but what do you want to do? And which colleges have those programs, or what do you want to do? And if a four year university isn’t what you want to do, let’s find you a path. Let’s find you a two year program. Let’s find you a training program, something to get your feet off the ground and make sure that you’re going to be successful in what you want to do.
And that shift — helping students connect their interests with possible careers FIRST and then looking at what education or training will help them achieve that career goal whether it’s college or not– is what Tiffany does with a program called College Match. Administered by teachers at Tiffany’s high school, College Match allows students a different way to look at the possible education or training pathways that might be best for them.
So we did that with our juniors and we had a couple of students who were like, “I’m going to Harvard.” Yes… except I don’t know that your class rank is going to potentially allow for that. And so those are tough conversations. The teacher was like, “I always feel so guilty in that situation to be real with the student and be honest and make sure they have another plan and not just bawling”. They’d be like, of course you can. She said, you know, like, obviously I want every student to feel like they can succeed and chase their dreams, but then also at the same time, just that reality piece of it, too. “That’s awesome. You want that? But they have some requirements that I don’t know if you’re going to meet.”
And so when we did College Match with her students, she was like, this program just made me not be the bad guy. Like, this program is the bad guy! But that was so eye opening for the students. It’s one of those things that, just like anything else in education, you can tell a student 15 times the same thing, but this program, all of a sudden said it. And they were like, “Oh my gosh, I might need to look at something different,” or, “Hey, I can get into that school.” And it’s like, I haven’t been telling you that for a month. It’s fine.
Another of Tiffany’s favorite online career readiness tools is the Work Values Inventory. Now, I’ve used it many times with students and was never really sure if the information “stuck” with those students or not, but Tiffany’s experience is quite the opposite.
Once you get your results and you click on the value, it will go through questions you should ask at your interview that are related to that value, that show you more about that workplace. So one of my top ones is coworkers. When I click on it, it says, when you go for an interview, you should ask questions like: Is there opportunity for collaboration in the workplace? Will I get to work with other people? Am I going to be expected to work alone?
And, actually just a couple of weeks ago, I ran into a student in our little town and they were like, Hey, I actually went for a job interview last week and I used Kuder work values to ask questions at the interview because we always preach to them, like, take questions, like, make sure you have something to ask there, research their company, look into it.
And they said, I asked some of those questions, too, but I specifically asked ones that related to my work values. And I was like, “Are you kidding me?” And they were like, no, I really did. Like, I wanted to make sure that my lifestyle would be supported. And I was like, oh my God, you’re 17 years old. And you’re using questions based on this for your lifestyle at your workplace. So it was really funny! Like, I went back to my car, cracking up, but how cool is that our students are legitimately using this resource, that it’s impacting them so much that they’ve used it for their own job interview?
It’s another case of we never quite know – out of all of the interactions we have with kids everyday – just which ones will have a positive impact down the road.
Thanks to Tiffany for sharing her stories and to Kuder, Inc for sponsoring our podcast this week. To find out more about Kuder, visit them at kuder.com/inspire. Kuder: leading the industry in career guidance and college readiness.
We’re asking this week to tell us: What has been the MOST challenging for you over the past several months with the start of school? Just a short answer will do -– one line, or even one word — let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hang in there! And have a great week.