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Need and Benefits

Middle School Career Education
By Dr. Mary Askew http://www.hollandcodes.com

Middle School is a bridge between Elementary School and High School. Middle School is a
time of transition.

Need for Middle School Career Education

National Alliance of Business (1999) believed that Middle school was an ideal age at which to
expose students to the challenging world of work. Kerka (2000) described middle school as the
threshold between elementary and high school, between childhood and adulthood. Middle
school career education laid the groundwork for future career development by helping students
achieve the following goals:

* Knowledge of personal characteristics, interests, aptitudes, and skills

* Awareness of and respect for the diversity of the world of work;

* Understanding of the relationship between school performance and future choices

* Development of a positive attitude toward work (Developmental Career Programs 1998)

Yet, without Middle School Career Education, students failed to build a foundation of the
connection between high school academic subjects, potential careers, world of work, and post-
secondary training (Kerka 1994, Wells and Gaus’ 1991, Finch and Mooney 1997, Johnson
2000). As a result, students had poor self concepts, possessed poor intrinsic motivation, lacked
self awareness, and made limited career choices. Finally, some of the students who failed to
participate in a career education program dropped out of school (Castellano et al., 2002).

Benefits of Middle School Career Education

Middle School Students who completed career education programs had the following positive
outcomes -

* Increased understanding of the world of work leading to an openness to an increased number

potential careers (McDonald and Jessell 1992, Hughes, 1993, Smith 2000, Finch &
Mooney, 1999)

* Improved skills to make informed decisions and complex career information problem solving
(McDonald and Jessell 1992)

* Enhanced academic, personal, and teamwork skill development(Toepfer, Smith 2000, Finch
& Mooney, 1999, Kerka 2000)

* Increased career awareness, self-esteem, clearly defined goals, a sense of direction, and
motivation to persist and attain a postsecondary education and training (Bell, T.H. 1983,
McDonald and Jessell 1992, Toepfer, p. 63, O’Brien et al. 1999, Marcos, K. 2003)


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