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December 16, 2021

Imposter Syndrome — the feeling that you don’t belong in the environment you’ve worked toward — is very real and seems to impact women and minorities most. Some of the self-doubt professionals feel is reinforced by memories of the messaging they received — both direct and indirect — from the adults who helped to shape their lives. This realization can be both scary and exciting as you consider the power you have in the lives of your students. Use tools from several courses for tips on how you can turn the tables on imposter syndrome and set your students up for success in any field.

Relationships Are the Root

The stronger your relationship is with your students, the more weight your words will carry with them. Most of us can remember at least one teacher with a reputation for meanness. And while, as adults, we recognize it could not have been easy to be on the receiving end of that meanness, it was likely easier to live with than even slightly disappointing a cherished mentor. To lay the groundwork for strong connections with your students, Y4Y offers a staff Training to Go, Building Relationships, and a brand-new training that takes childhood development into account: Understanding Development and Connecting With Children. Also check out Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment, and take an active role in team-building activities.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

One educator-turned-mom blogger, Shelly Stasney, cites three psychological and child development theories that reinforce the idea that, as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, children will become what you say they are. These theories are echoed in the research compiled in the “theories” tool in Y4Y’s Stages of Child and Adolescent Development course. In fact, a course matrix shows that children as young as four years old are forming new images of themselves based on how others view them. The basics of social and emotional learning also remind us that the first and most fundamental skill is self-awareness, so if your program is offering any social and emotional learning skill-building, you’re actively opening students up to taking in and taking on your perspective of who they are. As you consider the students in your program who may be more vulnerable as adults to imposter syndrome, you can use this awesome “power” to build up those little psyches. Every challenge is an opportunity for honest praise. If a child displays:

  • Disruptive behavior, say “I love that you have so much enthusiasm that it’s hard to wait your turn!”
  • Shyness, say “I can tell you have some powerful thinking going on in there!”
  • Self-doubt, say “I believe in you! Want to know why? Because I’ve seen you accomplish amazing things like coming to the program on time every single day all year. You might say that’s easy, but not everyone does it!”
  • Discomfort with anything academic, say “Using your mind is mostly about problem solving. Remember what a great job you did at problem solving when there weren’t enough kids to play a game of basketball? We’re ALL using our brain power every day!”

Passive Imagery

Even if you’ve built trust and actively given positive, personalized messages to your students, there’s only so much you can do about the world outside your program. Be sure to include lots of passive, diverse imagery in your program space and materials. Invite guest speakers that “look like” your students, such as a female surgeon, a college professor from the inner city or an attorney who uses a wheelchair. And teach students to “think big” when it comes to imagining their futures. Y4Y’s newly updated Career Pathways for Students course offers many tools like the Career Pathways Activity Design Guidebook to help students head imposter syndrome off at the pass by envisioning those futures from a young age.

Although you may be focusing efforts on acceleration of learning and general academics, don’t lose sight of the opportunity to expose your students to real-world careers in ways that help them to see themselves there. Not sure where to start? Check these Y4Y courses for activities that connect students to a variety of professions:

Activist Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” In your 21st CCLC program, you have the power to build a new generation of diverse professionals who won’t just do amazing things, but feel it was always their destiny.

November 11, 2021

Is an expensive university education the best assurance of success? Not necessarily! Y4Y has responded to your feedback that pathways to every kind of career success should be offered to students. The updated Career Pathways for Students course offers Basic, Advanced and Leadership certificates of completion. More important, it shows you ways to give even very young students the prompts they’ll need to draft their own successful futures. Whether students decide to pursue a trade, the military, workforce advancement or, yes, college, Y4Y’s new Career Pathways for Students course will get you thinking about the many chapters of preparing students for the future. You can help students at every grade level learn about themselves and careers to consider, and get beyond that creaky old embossed leather binding!

Table of Contents

If you’re browsing books, you’re not going to stand in the library and read entire volumes, right? Once you’ve gotten past the cover, the first thing you might do is to flip to the table of contents. The Career Pathways Approach at a Glance tool gives a nice summary of what to expect in this course, and guides you to the chapters that apply to your program. Some you can implement right away, while others may take long-range planning. Want more detail? The Career Pathways for Students Planning Checklist fleshes those steps out even more.

What Others Are Saying

Do you flip to the back cover to see what others are saying about that book in your hand? Career readiness takes many voices, so you’ll want to download the College and Career Pathways Questionnaire for Students and Families to pinpoint your program’s specific needs. Spark families’ interest in joining you on this exploration of career pathways by using Y4Y’s Tips for Families: Preparing Children and Youth for Success. You have other community partners’ voices to consider on this journey. Check out the Guiding Questions for Partnerships in College and Career Awareness, Exploration and Preparation tool. Oh, and don’t forget the students themselves! This course is chock-full of student voice tools like the Elementary Student Interest Inventory, Work Personality Evaluation and a tool for real talk with youth.

Illustrations Are Your Go-To

The child lives on in every one of us, and jumping to those illustration pages of any book is worth a thousand words and more! A comprehensive tool for your approach to including career pathway activities in your program can be found in Y4Y’s Career Pathways Activities Design Guidebook. While considering what’s age appropriate, begin by planning programming that fits in the categories of

  • Awareness activities — to provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves, real-world job expectations, and education and career options.
  • Exploration activities — to provide opportunities for students to actively explore education and career options to see what sparks their interest, and which options seem like a good fit.
  • Preparation activities — to provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, skills and plans that will help them move toward their career goals.

So, as one illustration, even at the elementary level, students can be learning about specific jobs through guest speakers (awareness), taking a hands-on field trip to interact with professionals in action (exploration), and doing a problem-based learning project together to build their collaborative and communicating skills (preparation).

The End

Are you someone who reads the last page of a book first? Do you jump to it once you’ve gotten to know the characters? Or do you savor the ending only after you’ve read every word that comes before it? Whatever “cover” your students choose — a trade, the military, workforce advancement or college — your professional development around career pathways ends when you’re ready to train others! This course offers customizable staff trainings in building a culture and climate to support this work, planning age-appropriate activities and using self-assessment tools with students. Just remember: Trainings will be all the more rich and savory once you’ve completed the course!


The U.S. is course-correcting for decades of believing that everyone should be driven toward higher education. Trade professionals are better compensated than ever. Slowly, more resources are being provided to men and women transitioning from the military to civilian careers that their experience prepared them for. And companies everywhere are clamoring to hire young, trainable people who demonstrate 21st century skills, whether or not their education or training went beyond high school. A four-year university experience — and the expense that goes along with it — may not be the right “read” for some of your students. Armed with this new library of resources, your 21st CCLC program is the perfect place to get past those book covers and help students dive into the true substance of all genres of successful futures.

October 21, 2021

Will the wide receiver go long? Will the running back run it up the middle? What about a quarterback sneak? You’ve always got the Hail Mary in a pinch! Y4Y’s newest course on career pathways emphasizes that students have numerous, equally effective ways to score in the end zone. Six points are six points, however you get there!

Throw a Pass to Trades

Many young people have already discovered that going straight to college may not be the “obvious” choice it was once thought to be. An estimate of spring 2021 U.S. college enrollment revealed that 200,000 fewer women and a dramatic 400,000 fewer men were attending college from just one year earlier. The National Association of Workforce Boards notes:

“The nation’s home builders face a severe skilled labor shortage. Some of the jobs that are in highest demand are carpenters, electricians, HVAC and solar installers, plumbers, painters, and masonry workers. In the previous two quarters, unfilled positions in construction have averaged 275,000,” according to Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

The National Association of Workforce Boards says “it’s time for a major national focus on training new workers in the skilled building trades. First on the agenda must be a change in the perception of trade jobs. Too many high school students, and those who influence their decisions, never consider the opportunities available for well-paying jobs and promising careers in construction after graduation.”

Your 21st CCLC Goes Long

Does your program “influence the decisions” of your high school students while helping them make their own choices? You are if you’re meeting your goals! Y4Y’s new course walks you through a comprehensive and individualized approach to guiding students to the end zone. With pathways that wind through the trades, military, workforce and college, students can gain a broader-than-ever view of their options for the future. You’ll be setting up the play for both personal reflection and career exploration.

Cover the Player

Here are just a few tools you can use in your program to help students gain important insights about themselves through the first half.

After halftime, run the whole field by exploring careers and the right paths to get there with more course tools.

Texas coach Darrell Royal famously said, “There are three things that can happen on a forward pass — and two of them are bad.” Help your student complete that pass, wherever they are on the field, and keep their eye on the endzone. Your 21st CCLC program is the perfect place to help students understand that college is just one of many plays that can deliver them to a winning career and future.

September 21, 2021

We all know the stories well. Johnny Suburb studied philosophy at a New England liberal arts college, has $250,000 in student debt, and works delivering pizza because he isn’t qualified for a “professional” level job. Sam Blue-Collar couldn’t afford college, so after high school he took an internship with his uncle, a certified electrician. Now at age 24, after taking three junior college courses in business, Sam runs his own one-man company, earns a six-figure salary and is thinking of training a new partner himself because he can’t keep up with demand for his work.

The country has realized that college is not the answer for everyone, and the future is nothing to be afraid of once your students understand this.

Y4Y is excited to roll out a totally revamped version of its College and Career Readiness course, with a new title to match: Career Pathways for Students. Cassie, a teen trail guide and Pathfinder High School senior, hikes the Y4Y trails with you: College, Military, Trades and Workforce. With engaging tips and tricks along the way, you’ll be dazzled by this fresh opportunity to help K-12 students find or create their own paths.

In the Introduction section, you’ll earn a Basic Level certificate while you explore:

  • The past, future and benefits of college and career education
  • Connecting your learning to 21st CCLC programs
  • Strategies for building a stakeholder team
  • Student and family needs and the related goals you might develop
  • Mapping your many community assets
  • Relevant logistics of your career pathways guidance
  • Intentionally designing activities
  • Student recruitment
  • Staff recruitment and training
  • Family engagement
  • Planning for continuous improvement of your career pathways programming

When you engage in the Implementation Strategies section to earn an Advanced Level certificate, you’ll dive deep into the three realms of the career pathways approach — awareness, exploration and preparation — and how your program can deliver activities in each of them. Your hike will also take you through tips and tricks for implementing the career pathway steps you explored at the beginning of your adventure, in the Introduction section.

A Leadership Level certificate is also available. Check out the Coaching My Staff section of the course for a trail map to

  • Building a culture and climate to support the career pathways approach
  • Planning age-appropriate career awareness, exploration and preparation activities
  • Using career pathways self-assessment tools with students

Check out the full set of new tools to help students chart their course and strike out on a fearless path stretching far into their promising futures.

March 18, 2021

Y4Y is excited to roll out its updated STEM (now STEAM) course to familiarize your 21st CCLC program staff with the design thinking process and how your students can apply collaboration and creativity to compelling STEM learning.

Your navigator, Sean, will blast off with you into the universe of STEAM with a first stop in the Enterprise Briefing Room. As a cadette, you’ll earn a Basic Level certificate of completion when you soar through Chapters 1 and 2 of the Introduction section of the STEAM course, learning how to

  • Define STEAM as an approach to learning.
  • Describe the evolution of STEAM.
  • Describe how STEAM benefits students, 21st CCLC programs and schools.
  • Explain how STEAM can help students prepare for future careers.
  • Describe the variations and characteristics of STEAM projects and activities.
  • Identify the required tasks for planning and implementing high-quality STEAM projects and activities.

But your STEAM mission doesn’t end there! Earn an Advanced Level certificate of completion when you sign on to the six tasks of STEAM implementation:

  • Consider STEAM education variation and characteristics.
  • Activate the power of design thinking and makerspaces.
  • Plan to mitigate risks.
  • Choose your mission and implement your STEAM activity.
  • Ensure a smooth link to program goals by implementing with fidelity.
  • Assess, reflect and celebrate.

Your STEAM adventures won’t come to a full stop until you’ve earned your Leadership Level certificate of completion by rocketing through the Coaching My Staff section of the STEAM course. You’ll find support for training staff as they integrate the elements of STEAM to promote student learning, especially when it comes to

  • Applying design thinking.
  • Creating a makerspace.
  • Connecting STEAM to real-world challenges.

Sign into your Y4Y account today and discover how vast your and your students’ opportunities are as you develop collaboration, innovative thinking and limitless professional paths in your 21st CCLC program, using the new Y4Y STEAM course as your guide.