Doing What Matters Initiative Expands Scope for Software that Helps Kids Navigate Career Options
How scary is tomorrow’s world through the eyes of today’s schoolkids? Your parents say “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What we’re asking is “What problems do you see and what tools do you need to solve them? Teachers, friends, and society want to know what you’re doing with the rest of your life. Intimidating – and confusing.
It’s safe to say that no child yearns for a career in Supply Chain! Until recently, the education system wasn’t doing a very good job of producing graduates who were qualified to take on even entry-level jobs related to supply chain, logistics or global trade management. But schools and educators are working to change that, by listening to and collaborating with the private sector. Both college and high school programs are more frequently geared to address the looming gap for companies whose workforces are aging out, who are in dire need of fresh talent.
But the shift can now be seen at all levels, even in elementary grades. High school may even be late in the game to get kids excited about their career options. And the challenge to prepare our students for the careers of the future extends far beyond logistics.
The Doing What Matters initiative is now part of a success story for software that makes the scary world of career planning and choices a more enjoyable task. First unveiled at the hugely successful Global Edu-Preneur Summit last March at JFK University, My Scary World is an interactive web platform disguised as an engaging video game, featuring an alien from outer space who helps 7th and 8th graders navigate the alien territory of college and career possibility.
Funded by the California Endowment, the innovative program is being offered for free to the first 5,000 students in Northern California schools to sign up (Valley View Middle School in Pleasant Hill was the first).
When students log on to the website, they take a fun, interactive survey that explores their passions and translate them to career choices. The database then analyzes the student’s personality type and suggests potential career opportunities that would be a good fit, pulled from the national O*NET career database the videos and animations in My Scary World encourage kids to:
- EXPLORE what they want to be when they grow up;
- PREPARE by pursuing STEAM careers, a philosophy that takes the STEM concept further by emphasizing innovation, thinking creatively to solve real-world problems, and appreciating Art as an essential human component;
- ENGAGE by reading about cool jobs they hadn’t considered before;
- and ultimately SUCCEED in their chosen career path
By starting to think about what they like to do, students often discover that the things they’re good at now could lead to a career they’re good at later. Not all discoveries are surprising: The program might suggest that a Debate Club enthusiast would make a great attorney. But the recommendations can be less obvious. One cheerleading squad captain was motivated to attend CSU-Maritime to pursue training as a ship’s Captain, leveraging her leadership qualities and interest in engineering.
As our kids prepare to face the world, there are so many roads, pathways, and options for them than we ever thought possible. But My Scary World shows them that it’s not so scary once you start to learn about how to make a plan, when you have a friend to show you around. When you figure out that what you’re into now might lead to your future job, it’s easier to feel excited about the future! And thanks to the Doing What Matters initiative, students at Valley View Middle and throughout the Bay Area will do just that.