The reality is that many students make binding decisions about their education – often a major financial investment – without knowing how it connects to future career opportunities.
A Step Beyond launched the World of Work program, a partnership with Beable Education, to help youth develop a deeper understanding of themselves, excite their sense of possibility about the future, and arm them with the knowledge to make informed educational decisions that lead to a fulfilling career.
Replicated after the highly successful program developed by Cajon Valley Union School District, World of Work includes four levels: Exploration, Simulation, Meet a Pro, and Practice.
Students learn about the RIASEC themes – six vocational personality types based on John Holland’s Theory of Career Choice – and take an assessment each year to hone in on their individual strengths, interests, and values as they relate to potential career paths. During this level, students are introduced to a wide variety of vocations, many of which they would not have encountered at home or in school.
Younger students role-play a “day in the life” of a worker while older students engage in simulations or interact directly with industry professionals. For example, middle school students will learn about landscape architecture, complete a project designing a space, and visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to meet with one of the architects who designs the park.
Students interact directly with industry professionals, learning the paths to prospective careers and putting their knowledge into real-life context. This is where the rubber meets the road. Through our Career Advisory Council, professionals will share their journeys and answer questions students have about prospective careers.
Having discovered careers they are interested in pursuing, students are ready for a test run. Informational interviews, internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer opportunities will not only help students better understand if the career is a fit, but also help our future workforce hone essential skills and gain real-world experience.
World of Work is part of the College and Career Readiness Initiative at A Step Beyond. Starting in 3rd grade, students will experience six hands-on career simulations each year. By 9th grade, students will have encountered 36 careers that are aligned to their interests within growing industries.
Career exploration and simulations begin in 3rd grade. Each year includes one career from each of the six RIASEC themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Examples include:
Students participate in in-depth career simulations or “labs” across a broad range of Career Clusters, which include authentic problem-based learning experiences as they discover their interests and aptitudes. Over the middle school years, students begin to define a more focused pathway. Labs include:
High school students receive a wide array of academic advisory support, including assistance with the transition to high school, course selection, and exploring plans after high school, college and career fair experiences, industry visits, college tours, and more. Our staff offers workshops, including:
James Wright, CEO