Family Engagement to Meet Workforce Needs

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My oldest daughter is a senior in high school this year, and although we have known this was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier to realize that soon she will venture into this new world of independence and growth. Throughout her life, my daughter has made many claims to her future career path; a ballerina, a teacher, and even a fashion designer. While some of these future careers stuck around a little more than others, since 7th grade, she has consistently been interested in a career in therapeutic medicine. We attribute this to her observing my youngest son’s journey with speech and occupational therapy. My daughter observed first hand the struggles as well as the celebrations we experienced through our therapeutic journey. With the scarcity of therapeutic practitioners in our region, my daughter knows the value her chosen profession will add to Northern Maine. 

Career aspiration is typically talked about throughout high school, but a main focus on job shadowing, college campus tours, and other career and college activities tend to be focused on the junior and senior high school year for students. A study completed by Strada Education Network showed that 55% of students seek advice concerning career aspirations from family or friends of family through their informal social network. With more than half of students seeking advice from family members or family friends, secondary education should be striving to increase family engagement. It’s no wonder GEAR UP has a focus on increasing family involvement with this representation of family involvement value.

Forbes magazine recently reported the top 5 “high-demand jobs in 2023” in which all but one career requires a college education. As the world around us shifts and workforce needs are ever changing, a focus on preparing the next generation for careers to meet the demand is crucial.

NCCEP has an amazing Family Engagement Starter Kit for All on how to kick off family engagement with a focus on GEAR UP programming. This toolkit is a free resource available with components such as :

  • Getting to Know Your Families
  • Planning for Engagement
  • Trust
  • Data
  • Getting Started

In addition to the Family Engagement Starter Kit, there are other Family Engagement resources available provided by not only the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships but by GEAR UP programs nationwide!

With my daughter’s college applications submitted and the acceptance letters starting to pour in, this school year already seems to be filled with firsts and lasts as WE near the mid part of the school year. No matter the outcome or where she chooses to pursue therapeutic medicine, I know her future is bright and I’ll be right by her side as she achieves all she sets out to do and more!