Techniques Magazine Techniques January 2011 : Page 48

Fea ture By Sally E. Arnett, Patti Kozlowski and Peggy Peach Careers: Going Green While Doing Good IT IS EVIDENT THAT HIGHER EDUCATIoN AND WoRkFoRCE CoNSULTANTS C AREER AND tECHNICAL EDUCAtION (CTE) is starting RECOGNIzE tHE NEED FOR tODAY’S StUDENtS tO GAIN ExpOSURE tO SUStAINABILItY OR GREEN CAREER pAtHWAYS. PHOTO By ISTOCK.COM to turn green. Due to a host of reports, research, workforce initiatives and scholarly speaking engagements, it is evident that higher education and workforce consultants recognize the need for today’s students to gain exposure to sustainability or green career pathways. But for secondary and junior high career development teachers, the how to imple-ment green career development concepts is still lacking. In fact, Konopnicki (2009) challenged CTE to develop new academic approaches to sustainability and, further, to consider career pathway applications within the curriculum. Limited, if any, resources are available for classroom instructional strategies that connect sus-tainability with career development, thus giving purpose to a project in Illinois. The framework organizes instruction by the career cluster, career pathways and skill sets [of each of the 16 clusters]. Then a student can develop a program of study, including courses and work experience for a seamless transition into the workforce and/or postsecondary education. An in-structional method that has been effective in exploring career pathways is service-learning (National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2007). Service-Learning Furco (1994) defined service-learning as “any carefully monitored service experi-ence in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience” (p. 2). Service-learning em-phasizes learning opportunities that are interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with real-world issues and prac-tices (Bradford, 2005), such as sustainabil-ity concerns. Jensen and Burr (2006) found that service-learning instruction provides a strong factor in motivating students to learn course content, which allows for the reinforcement of academics in an applied setting. Effective use of service-learning can promote personal growth and instill a commitment to lifelong, civic engagement. Furthermore, activities that produce ef-ficacious results usually contribute to inter -est development. Interest development can then spur students’ motivation to acquire specific knowledge that in turn may clarify academic and future goals (Lent, Brown, and Hackett, 1996). In other words, students who take interest in a service-Career Cluster Framework To enhance workforce and career devel-opment, CTE has adopted the Career Cluster Framework. This adoption distances CTE from its former purpose of preparing students for one specific job to that of fostering workplace knowledge and skills within a career category. People change jobs numerous times through-out their employment careers; therefore it is sensible to provide students with workplace readiness skills in a variety of career-related options. The Career Cluster Framework links school-based learning with career-related experi-ences, so that students can recognize the relationship between what they learn in school and what they can do in the future. 48 Techniques JANUAR Y 2011

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