Our Vision for Career Readiness

Building Career Readiness

What if someone were to ask you “So, what is a career ready graduate, and what does one ‘look’ like?” How would you respond to that question? What words would you use to describe that person? In other words, what sort of things should they have LEARNED over the course of their education that would make them ready for college or to step right into their career? What things should they have DONE and experiences should they have had to be able to reflect on?  And what artifacts should they have CREATED or accumulated that they could speak about to help them demonstrate all this? If pressed, would your students be able to tangibly connect the things they have learned, done and created in your classes and programs to their own future?  If you have not looked at your work through this lens, we challenge you to do so. 

The vision of Kent ISD’s Career Readiness Department is that every student leaves their K-12 experience career ready and with some sort of a plan. We do this by readily helping every student prepare for college and careers through collaborative work within our community to develop and provide programs and resources for students, parents, educators and business partners. By the time you work through the documents and resources provided in this framework, you will find you have what you need to confidently identify the skills and experiences every student needs to become career ready.

About the Framework

In 2018 Michigan’s legislators passed PA’s 229, 230 and 231. These laws reinforced the need for school districts to:

  • incorporate grade-appropriate career development instruction in each grade level (K-12),
  • have students implement (and yearly review/revise) individualized educational development plans (EDPs) beginning in 7th grade, and develop a talent portfolio of experiences and accomplishments over the years, and 
  • provide age-appropriate career information and employability skills in all curricular areas as well as “work-based” learning experiences as part of the school improvement plan.

The Michigan Career Development Model (MCDM) was Michigan’s Department of Education (MDE) response to this legislation. In it, MDE provided numerous targets and suggested strategies for implementation, broken out and distinguished by various grade level bands.

While Kent ISD’s Career Readiness Department was already doing much of the work outlined by the MCDM, we have spent much of the past year developing a more systematic approach to it. Centered around 5 goals (Learn, Connect, Experience, Personalize and Plan), we have developed the Career Readiness Framework, our interpretation for implementing the development model. From this framework, we developed a comprehensive scope-and-sequence of resources, strategies and lessons that, when applied with fidelity and connected to current academic curriculum and practices, will produce graduates much more ready for post-secondary education and, ultimately, careers.

Navigating this Tool

Just as each content area creates a scope-and-sequence of what to teach and when and how it should progress, we, too, have created our own scope-and-sequence of learning opportunities and experiences that are introduced at appropriate times and which progressively build upon one another. In the following pages you will find 26 unique modules, broken into 3 different grade bands/levels. They are distributed per the Michigan Career Development Model’s (MCDM) suggested bands into areas of Career Awareness (K-6), Career Exploration (7-8) and Career Preparation (9-12).

At each level you should work your way up, using each module as a building block for the next. Note that the three bottom blocks are the same at each level. That is because we see each of these modules – Employability Skills, Diversity and a Connection to Content – as foundational building blocks that should be woven throughout the K-12 experience.

In each grade band you’ll find content and resources on topic areas relevant to that level, whether it be links to valuable articles, lesson plans to use or videos to show. Each module contains an intro defining what the topic is and what it means, an explanation as to why it is important to know, and supporting content that explains how to use that information.

If you don’t have a specific career readiness plan of your own, you can adapt this progression to develop one. Or, you can simply follow each of the modules provided as they are.  As with most anything, one size does not fit all. So order these blocks as you see fit to build a plan that works for you.

Next Steps

District Needs Assessment

Educators, what supports do you need in providing your K-12 students with the College and Career Readiness (CCR) resources necessary to be successful once they leave your buildings? Not sure? Then, utilize the Kent Intermediate School District Needs Assessment to evaluate the CCR needs of your students. This tool can provide district leaders, teachers or counselors with a snapshot of where students are in their CCR development and offer insight as to what supports may be needed to aid in developing a plan to prioritize identified needs.

CCR Programming Scope & Sequence Chart

Need help in developing a comprehensive plan within your district? The Kent ISD College and Career Readiness (CCR) Scope and Sequence chart provides districts with a step-by-step, systematic, action plan for CCR programming for grades K-12. This chart delivers practical career awareness, exploration and preparation opportunities via activities, programming events and more to help fully engage your students in College and Career Readiness. Utilizing the chart allows educators to focus on college and career curricular rigor and individualized students support for postsecondary options. The Kent CCR Team can assist with conversations, planning or implementation of the scope & sequence.

District Checklist

The district checklist tool provides district leaders with a glimpse of where districts are in meeting career readiness targets for all students (K-12) based on the Michigan Career Development Model. The items within the checklist highlight suggested instructional strategies educators can use to identify if college and career resources are being integrated within the district per grade level.

For Students

Welcome students! We’re glad you’ve decided to look around. You’ve probably been asked a thousand times already: What do you want to be when you “grow up?” Maybe you already know, and are confident of your final destination. But, do you know all the steps you will need to take to get from here to there? Or, maybe you feel lost, thinking to yourself “I don’t have a clue what I want to do with my life. How come everyone else seems to know and I don’t?” Relax, we have some resources to help you work through that.

While the information on the following pages can be used by your teachers, counselors and even parents to help you on your way to discovering your career pathway, the following resources were made with you in mind. You can go through each of the modules - on your own - to discover what things you’ll need to learn, what experiences you should have and things you should do, and what things you will need to create or accumulate along the way to help you feel like you are career ready by the time you graduate. All of the pieces will fit together to help you fill in your own career readiness puzzle. So go ahead; open a module and grab your first puzzle piece.

Back to Career Staircase

Back to main stairwayk-6 Staircase 7-8 Staircase 9-12 Staircase