Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

Career Guidance Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Enhance the current World’s Best Workforce legislation about student plans to require enhanced comprehensive individualized life plans and strengthen the process for review and revision of those plans.

Options for implementation:

1. Clarify the language in the World’s Best Workforce to make it clear that the “plan” is both a process and a document
2. Specify that plan documents should, at a minimum, include students’ course taking and achievement record, career assessment information showing interests and aspirations, post-secondary plans aligned to career goals, financial planning strategies for post-secondary education and training, and documentation of the college and career readiness skills the student has developed to-date.
3. Students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) should also have a comprehensive life plan and participate in planning related activities. The two plans are complementary to each other and should be coordinated.
4. Specify that plan documents must be electronic, portable and universally designed to ensure accessibility for all students, including those with disabilities. Plan documents should be accessible by schools, students and families. (MDE or an appropriate task force should establish technical specifications that define what makes plans “portable.” School districts may adopt technologies and delivery platforms that meet the guidelines established by MDE.)
5. Require that the implementation of the development of comprehensive life plans for every student be a school-wide endeavor in which all staff are engaged in the implementation of and are provided staff development to ensure successful implementation strategies.
5. Schools should be required to engage students in planning activities regularly and continually review their Plan and reflect on how academic and experiential learning activities contribute to their overall development6.
6. Specify/recommend strongly that the Minnesota’s Career Fields, Clusters and Pathways Framework document be utilized as a tool to assist students, families and staff during the development of a student’s career plan and postsecondary planning activities.
7. Provide a uniform set of standards for the annual review and revision requirement of the legislation.
8. Provide an accountability mechanism and reporting requirement for the review and revision process. (i.e. The percent of students meeting the standards developed by MDE will be weighted in MMR ratings)

Exemplary Programs:

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD-Youth) “Individualized Learning Plan” technical assistance resources. (http://www.ncwd-youth.info)

Recommendation 2: All students should have regular and frequent access to multiple individuals within the school community who have reliable and accurate information/resources about postsecondary education and training options; including career and technical education and training options, to enhance the learning process and the development of their individual life plan.

Options for implementation:

1. Schools and education sites serving students beginning in grades 6 must adopt, as part of their school improvement plan a plan for staff development, which at a minimum, specifies how the staff will be trained on current workforce trends, the types of post-secondary degrees and certifications offered that align with those workforce trends as well as best practices about how to advise students about these options.

3. Annually, MDE, in consultation with other appropriate state agencies, will provide a report to schools on current workforce trends and the educational demand produced by these trends to assist schools in the implementation of their staff development plans.

2. By year 2016, secondary schools should work toward the goal of staffing one school counselor for every 350 students in order to help lead and facilitate college and career readiness programs and required staff development training activities.

4. Amend Minnesota Statues section 122A.60 STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM -Subd. 1a by adding a new class of permitted activities:

(8) provide opportunities for staff to learn about current workforce trends and the links between those trends, as well as post-secondary education and training options; including career and technical education options.

5. Revise continuing education requirements for teachers in grades 6-12 to include a requirement for work based learning experience by amending Minnesota statutes section 122A.09 DUTIES [Board of Teaching] Subd.4 adding:

(o) The board must adopt rules that require all licensed teachers teaching in a secondary school who are renewing their continuing license to include in their renewal requirements a reflective statement of professional accomplishment and the applicant's own assessment of professional growth resulting from a work- based learning experience.

Work based learning experience definition: Experiential learning which uses workplaces to structure learning experiences that contribute to the intellectual, social, academic, and career development of students. Ideally these experiences are supplemented with school activities that apply, reinforce, refine, or extend the learning that occurs at a work site.

6. Review database that is currently in use by guidance counselors to determine if it is being used adequately for the purposes of meeting with students consistently throughout the student’s education and to measure performance of school. Provide training to ensure sufficient use and/or determine if another database is warranted in capturing the goals outlined for career development by task members(refer to #7, 8.)

7. Create a task force to evaluate the role of guidance counselor to determine how they spend their time, review their job description to understand the role, task, responsibilities, and real-life responsibilities to develop a concrete understanding in order to help determine if guidance counselors and career advisors should be separate roles.

8. If it is determined there should be a separation within counselor and advisor role, or that the guidance counselor will continue to provide career advising duties then a special team must be established to create metrics and monitor results to ensure that every student is reached on a consistent basis.

Exemplary Programs:

1. Ramp-up to Readiness

Recommendation 3: All Minnesota families, including families of youth with disabilities, families experiencing socio-economic challenges, those with first generation college bound students, and multicultural families, will have the opportunity to engage in students’ planning activities and will have access to training and resources so they may help their youth make appropriate career planning and education choices.

Options for implementation:

1. Plan documents should be accessible to family members and should be a central component in student-led parent-teacher conferences.

2. Districts should offer materials describing plans, regular parent information meetings related to understanding planning tools and activities, and identified resource staff who can field questions from families as they arise.

3. Minnesota special education staff should be given capacity building training on career development, commonly used individualized planning tools, strategies for having an ILP and IEP work together, and effective practices in involving families in the planning process.

4. Districts should be given access to resources so commonly used planning tools can be translated, and so translators can be utilized to make sure non-English speaking families and students understand the planning purpose and process.

5. The Minnesota Department of Education should collaborate with a community partner to create a parent information guide and parent training workshops that will assist families of youth with disabilities, multicultural families, and families experiencing socio-economic challenges better understand how they can help their youth effectively plan for a career.

Recommendation 4: School and community partnerships are a key component in in the success of implementing individualized life plans and thus schools are encouraged to develop an infrastructure for fully engaging with employers, chambers of commerce, labor groups, postsecondary institutions, workforce development related agencies and other community based organizations.